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A trial has been carried out on a trawler fishing under a discard ban for Area VIIb-k haddock, which is caught amongst a diverse range of over 20 species in the south west mixed fishery.
On-shore observers estimated that less than 0.01% incidental discards and less than 1% of the haddock catch was below the minimum landing size or damaged. The fishery in the area is fished by over 130 UK vessels, which discard about 62% of haddock because of quota restrictions.
The results of the trial show the potential effect of a haddock as a choke species – a low quota species that, when the quota is gone, would lead vessels to stop fishing even if they still had quota for other species. The data suggests that the south west trawl fleet faces challenges in avoiding haddock catches, which could result in an early closure to this fishery when the quota is exhausted.
This report follows an interim document published in June 2014 which stated haddock catches would continue to be documented until the end of the scheme. The final report includes this data.
It is also connected to a report about trials carried out by fishermen of different trawl designs which have dramatically reduced overall haddock catches across all size ranges. These trials were carried out following participation in the catch quota trial scheme.