The 'Discard Transfer'
Having introduced the Landing Obligation into pelagic fisheries at the start of 2015, discussions have now turned to demersal fisheries where the Landing Obligation shall be introduced, commencing January 2016.
One of the functions of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is to define mortality rates of particular species by comparing the amount discarded to that landed. To account for these mortality rates, a proportion of quota is withheld from the available allocation in any given management year.
As discards shall soon be banned in demersal fisheries, will this quota previously withheld be made available for allocation? On the face of it, this is the general intention. More quota shall be made available for those particular species, subject to any scientific data to the contrary indicating that additional controls on that particular species were necessary. This is the discard transfer.
The consultation; Landing Obligation: Consultation on how the Discard Transfer quota should be allocated and managed within Scotland, is currently open for responses until 18th August 2015. The consultation proposes three options for the management of this ‘additional quota’:-
- The discard transfer is allocated to Producer Organisations (POs) on a pre-defined basis and is thereafter fully under POs’ control;
- The discard transfer is allocated to POs once they have met conditions that are defined by the Scottish Government; or
- The discard transfer is retained nationally and allocated to individual vessels that pursue agreed objectives.
There are of course advantages and disadvantages of all and the consultation allows for comments to be made against each of these proposals as well as providing an opportunity for additional proposals to be made regarding the management of this additional quota.