Discarding in Mediterranean trawl fisheries—a review of potentia measures and stakeholder insights

Discarding Socio-economics Measures and incentive mechanisms Mediterranean Sea


The multi-species/multi-gear nature of the Mediterranean fisheries, the high number and dispersion of landing points, and the varying motivations for discarding make regulation enforcement in the basin challenging. In this study, reasons for explaining discarding are initially explored and then the main focus is on identifying potential incentive mechanisms and other measures that could reduce unwanted catches in Mediterranean trawl fisheries, in the face of the recent landing obligation. Both literature review and stakeholder engagement are employed, while special emphasis is put on the role of socio-economic tools to influence fishers’ behavior. Results show that although discarding is mainly driven by market demand, a number of factors have a synergistic effect which is sometimes difficult to disentangle and capture. Regarding measures, evidence from involved stakeholders (marine scientists and fishers) shows that economic incentives but also “social measures” such as more involvement of the industry and raising awareness are offering common ground. However, specific concerns have been also expressed on measures applicability. Overall, reducing discards is a complex issue and solutions should involve a combination of management measures designed for specific fleets and regions. However, irrespective of the synthesis of the management options, it is important to create a framework of action that takes into account human behavior as a source of variability. In this context, actions that for example encourage, engage, and enable can incentivize behavioral change in order to achieve specific outcomes.