Tackling discards in EU fisheries

Discard levels in European fisheries are higher than elsewhere in the world and vary across EU fisheries. The practice is particularly serious in the North-East Atlantic, where annual discards amount to over 1.3 million tonnes, representing nearly 20% of global discards for just 11% of global landings. Discard rates are particularly high in bottom trawl fisheries—for example, in the case of the North Sea Nephrops (Norwegian Lobster) trawl fleet, unwanted catches have been estimated to make up as much as 20-98% of the catch. A recent study estimated that losses from cod discards in the North Sea represent a staggering EUR 3.13 billion since 1963.