Exploring the ecological and environmental impacts of discarding in Icelandic Demersal fisheries using modelling techniques.

MINOUW partner & Lead scientist:

UI (University of Iceland), Gunnar Stefánsson

Fishing method and species:

Bottom trawl, long line and gillnets. Species targeted are Cod, Haddock, Saithe, Greenland Halibut and other codfish.

What is the discards problem?

Discarding of undersized fish does exist in Icelandic waters despite a discard ban. The discard rates have been estimated to be low, between 1% and 2% of the total catch for cod and haddock.

What activities did the MINOUW project carry out?
  • Evaluated if light technology can be used to reduce by-catch.
  • Developed an ecosystem model for Icelandic waters using the Atlantis modelling framework.
  • Including discards and economic components in this model.
  • Ran different discarding scenarios using the Atlantis model.
What outcomes were expected?
  • Develop better understanding of the ecological and economic impacts of discarding in the Icelandic demersal fisheries by using the Atlantis model.

This study showed that landing all discarded fish did not have much affect when the discard rate is low. Improving selectivity and avoiding the fish (juveniles) that would usually be discarded had great positive benefits.

For a full summary of results download the PDF here: (634kb)