Science, technology and society initiative to minimize unwanted catches in European fisheries (MINOUW)
The complexity of the problem of banning discards and bringing all unwanted catches to land makes it necessary to follow a multi-actor approach, whereby scientists, fisheries technologists, fish producers and NGOs work collaboratively to provide the scientific and technical basis to achieve the gradual elimination of discards in European marine fisheries. The project’s overall objective is to minimise unwanted catches by incentivising the adoption of fishing technologies and practices that reduce pre-harvest mortality and post-harvest discards, while avoiding damage to sensitive marine species and habitats. The general approach is based on technical/technological and socioeconomic solutions on a case-by-case analysis of the main types of European fisheries. The project will analyze existing and potential discard-mitigating innovative technologies in workshop roundtables with participation of fishers, technologists and scientists. The technologies selected will be tested in field trials to experimentally assess their efficiency: among other, improved precatch identification with observational technologies and pre-harvest loss reduction by gear modification and switching to light impact gear. The results will be analyzed in terms of technological advances, marketability and cost-benefit analysis. Other actions included in the project are social and economic instruments to incentivise selective fishing and discourage discarding practices, such as ecolabelling, fisheries certification and promoting awareness among industry and consumers, and mathematical modelling of ecosystem effects of unwanted catches reduction.