Scientia Marina, Vol 81, No 3 (2017)

Bioeconomic assessment of a change in fishing gear selectivity: the case of a single-species fleet affected by the landing obligation

Raúl Prellezo
AZTI, Spain

Itsaso Carmona
AZTI, Spain

Dorleta García
AZTI, Spain

Luis Arregi
AZTI, Spain

Jon Ruiz
AZTI, Spain

Iñigo Onandia
AZTI, Spain


The European Union Common Fisheries Policy has established a discard ban, which states that fish below a reference size cannot be sold directly for human consumption. In a fishing effort-regulated fishery, the discard ban can result in extra handling, storing and landing costs. In an output-regulated fishery, this policy might also limit the effort levels as all the catches count against the quota. In both cases, this regulation can reduce the economic performance of the companies, even in single-species fisheries. A possible solution is to increase the mesh size, thus retaining fewer small individuals. To study this option, a bioeconomic simulation of a change in the gear selectivity from 100- to 120-mm minimum mesh size (MMS) was performed. The results show that the private perspective (profits) does not change. Furthermore, due to the lower retention of 120 mm MMS, the efficiency of a fishing day was reduced by 5% and 2.5%, from the point of view of capital and labour productivity, respectively. In contrast, gross revenues increased by 1.5% and crew compensation by 2%. Given a societal benefit of this change in the mesh size, this gain could be re-distributed to provide an incentive for selectivity improvements.


minimum mesh size; landing obligation; minimum conservation reference size; simulation model; selectivity; hake

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