The final report for the 2011 scheme summarises how the practice is proving a successful, alternative method of managing fisheries. It shows that fishermen involved in the trials are discarding about 0.2% of the cod and sole they catch.
In 2010, the average discard rates were 38% for North Sea cod trawlers and 28% for Western Channel sole beam trawlers.
There were 3 vessels that took part in the South West trial and 12 in the North Sea. The boats were not permitted to discard any Western Channel sole or North Sea cod, including those below the minimum size. They had to land all of the fish of these species that they caught so they all counted against their quota. Once the quota was used up they had to stop fishing completely. On board monitoring, including CCTV cameras, checked whether they were following the rules.
Catches of undersized fish in the trial were also low, suggesting that boats are fishing more selectively.