Periodic Reporting for period 3 - MINOUW (Science, Technology, and Society Initiative to minimize Unwanted Catches in European Fisheries)
Reporting period: 2018-03-01 to 2019-02-28
The post-release survival of unwanted catches has been researched in different commercial species and types of fishing, by way of experiments following standard methodologies. Demonstrated high survival of discards can be used to justify an exemption to the Landings Obligation for specific regulated species and therefore this type of research is of high interest for the policy implementation aspects.
Several project results can be exploited directly by the fishing industry to increase fisheries selectivity to facilitate compliance with the regulation, such as the juvenile sorting grids, the T90 mesh panel or the guarding net. Other project results can be exploited by scientists to continue research on topics related to the discard ban. For instance, the project designed a prototype to assess automatically the vitality of very small fishes. The project also produced a system to control the properties of artificial light that can be used in selectivity devices using artificial light stimuli.
All project results were communicated to the industry, policy makers, fisheries managers and other relevant stakeholders by means of key communication actions. Communication activities included the organization of joint meetings with fisheries Regional Advisory Committee MEDAC (representing the fishing industry in the Mediterranean sea), the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean, organizing fishermen’s exchanges to promote the horizontal communication of results between peers and producing 22 short video films highlighting the project’s result to wider audiences. A dedicated web-site http://minouw-project.eu serves as repository for all the written and video material produced for the project.
The analysis of the potential impact of unwanted catches brought to land for the processing industry showed that although the quantity of biomass for processing (under traditional uses, such as conversion to fishmeal) would be non-negligible, the relatively low price of the primary product makes former discards from Mediterranean fisheries not competitive. Further research in alternative, niche markets will be necessary to maximize the use of any unwanted catches brought to land for high-end products such for the health / care industries as a way to add value to a formerly discarded product that cannot be marketed for direct human consumption.