Fishery by-catch and discards: a positive perspective from ecosystem-based fishery management


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Shijie Zhou, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, PO Box 120, Cleveland, Qld 4163, Australia
Tel.: +61 7 3826 7263
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By-catch and (or) discards in fisheries have been considered a serious problem and have been unanimously criticized by politicians, environmental groups, the public and scientists. However, it is possible to determine biologically acceptable amounts of discards that fulfil the objectives of ecosystem-based fishery management (EBFM). For instance, while discards have been shown to impact some systems negatively, they can be a potential benefit in other systems. Using a prawn trawl fishery as an example, this paper discusses some of the potentially positive effects of discards. As in many facets of EBFM, the key for the management of discards is sustainability and precaution. In particular, it is important to give full consideration to the implications of reducing discards to the lowest extent possible.