Estimating global discards and their potential reduction for the Galician fishing fleet (NW Spain)
This study presents the first comprehensive estimation of discard amounts in the Galician fishing fleet, in order to provide an integral view of this increasing environmental problem at a regional scale. Subsequently, a series of improvement actions relating to discard minimization are suggested with the goal of enhancing the performance of the Galician fishing fleet through discard minimization. Discard estimates were constructed individually for the different Galician fisheries by aggregating primary data obtained from a total of 89 fishing vessels and secondary data for those fleets that were not directly sampled. Results showed that roughly 60,250 t of marine organisms were discarded by the Galician fleet in 2008, representing 16.9% of the total capture. Moreover, an important percentage of these discards were linked mainly to trawling vessels and to a lesser extent, to certain long lining fisheries. Therefore, improved management measures in target stocks should take into account the fact that alternative fishing gears other than trawl nets may reduce the amount of discards for certain species. This estimation may improve the assessment of stocks and help to quantify the damage that discards may have on wild ecosystems.
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