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 discards 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.
The Cornish Fish Producers’ Organisation over-10-metre fleet’s 2012 landings data was used to estimate the overall level of discards of haddock and to describe the mixed nature of this fishery. All haddock catches continued to be fully documented until the end of 2013 and the total discards will be published in the final report.