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On 7 December 2017, guidance on the landing obligation (discard ban) was updated for 2018. The landing obligation applies to quota species and is being phased in over 2015 to 2019.
General guidance is given on:
- Sea areas;
- Minimum Conservation Reference Size (MCRS);
- High Grading;
- Fish you must discard;
- De minimis exemptions;
- High survivability;
- Record and report catch and discard estimates;
- Storing undersize fish;
- Landing undersize fish;
- Landing declaration;
- Buyers and sellers reporting requirements;
- Quota management; and
There is also specific guidance for demersal and pelagic landing obligations, with specific exemptions applying to each. The fishing gear used, area fished in, and historical track record affects how each landing obligation applies to you.
If you target demersal quota species in the North Sea or North Western Waters the demersal landing obligation must be followed. However, not all demersal fish are immediately affected from 1 January 2018 as the EU is gradually introducing the new rules.
If you target pelagic quota species in the North Sea or North Western waters you must follow the pelagic landing obligation.
The pelagic landing obligation applies if you use pelagic gear to target quota species, but if you use pelagic gear to target non-quota species the landing obligation will not apply.
Under this landing obligation you must land all the fish you catch if they:
- Are pelagic quota species, such as blue whiting boarfish, herring, and mackerel;
- Include by-catch of quota species, such as cod and whiting; and
- Include any quota fish that are below the minimum size.