North Sea Waters
The first stage of this was introduced from 1 January 2015, when the pelagic and industrial fisheries fell under the landing obligation.
The demersal landing obligation was introduced in fisheries of interest to the UK fleet in the North Sea from 1 January 2016. It will impact all fisheries covered by the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) by 2019. Because the regulation relates to fisheries rather than species, this means that during the transition phase (2016 to 2018) there will be some species that can be discarded by some vessels but not by others, in the same sea area.
Member States that were members of the North Sea Advisory Council drew up Discard Plans for which species will need to be landed by which vessels in the North Sea. The plans detail the species covered, provisions on catch documentation, minimum conservation reference sizes, and exemptions (for fish that may survive after returning them to the sea, and a specific de minimis discard allowance under certain conditions). The plans have a maximum duration of three years and eventually the provisions of the landing obligation will become incorporated into Multi Annual Plans.
New guidance for 2019 is being included as it is published. Please note links to new MMO gear selectivity fact sheets at the bottom of the page, as well as specific guidance for dealing with choke scenarios under the landing obligation.
Discard Atlas for the North Sea
Discard Plans for the North Sea for 2019
- Commission Regulation specifying details of implementation of the landing obligation for certain demersal fisheries in the North Sea for the period 2019-2021. 18 October 2018.
For more information and general guidance at EU and regional level
- Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF)
- North Sea Advisory Council
- Pelagic Advisory Council
- EU Guidance on discarding and the landing obligation
- The EU DiscardLess project
The Devolved Administrations in the UK have all published guidance at a UK level on what is included and when.
Guidance for North Sea pelagic species
- MMO landing obligation guidance 2019 - Pelagic all areas
- Guidance for Northern Ireland pelagic industry (latest)
- Marine Scotland Guidance Note (latest)
- Welsh Government (latest)
Guidance for North Sea demersal species
- MMO: Landing obligation general requirements for 2019. November 2018.
- Marine Scotland: Demersal Landing Obligation advice for skippers for 2018. December 2017
- DAERA: Demersal landing obligation general guidance for 2018. April 2018
- DAERA: North Sea landing obligation guidance for 2018. April 2018
- Welsh Government. Demersal Landing Obligation in 2018. December 2017
MMO gear selectivity guidance for North Sea fisheries in 2019
The Marine Management Organisation has produced specific gear selectivity guidance for North Sea fisheries in the form of fact sheets.