The establishment of a two month commercial fishing moratorium, which overlapped each year with different stages of the breeding cycle of the Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans at the Ebro Delta, Spain, provided the opportunity of testing the effects of food limitation on the breeding success of this species. The study was carried out in 1993, when the chick rearing stage occurred with normal commercial fishing activity and in 1994, when the chick rearing stage overlapped with the trawling moratorium. We recorded diet of the chicks, breeding phenology, clutch size, egg volume, hatching success and productivity of adult birds. There was a highly significant difference in the diet of the chicks between the two years and significantly lower productivity in 1994, whilst the other parameters examined did not change. These results show that a dependence on discards from commercial fishing activities may be a limiting factor in the breeding success of this seabird.