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Fisheries Policy | 30 July 2020

Ask the right question, get the right answer: Scientific advice for bycatch or non-targeted stocks that have zero catch advice
Fisheries Policy
Wildlife & habitats
Fisheries & Seafood

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Ask the right question, get the right answer: Scientific advice for bycatch or non-targeted stocks that have zero catch advice

The official scientific catch advice for several bycatch or non-targeted fish stocks is that there should be 0 catch next year to allow them to recover. For some of these stocks the European Commission has been requesting another type of scientific information on alternative catch scenarios, aimed at replying to the question: if we follow the stock-specific advice for the target stocks, how much of the bycatch stocks would we end up catching? This question does not reflect the sustainability requirements enshrined in the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), and the answer to such requests cannot be considered as the official catch advice for these bycatch or targeted stocks.

This mini briefing explains to decision-makers why they need to treat such alternative scenarios with caution and what scientific advice they should take into account when setting the TACs for these stocks, and urges them to implement effective bycatch reduction and rebuilding measures to help these stocks to recover in line with the CFP’s sustainability requirements.

Links: This briefing is part of a series of 8 briefings about some technical, but important key aspects of TAC-setting. The briefing series is designed to help decision-makers set sustainable TACs in line with science and the law.

Setting Total Allowable Catches (TACs) in the context of the Landing Obligation

Let's get the numbers right: What proportion of fish stocks are sustainably managed in the EU?

What is the ‘best available scientific advice’ for setting Total Allowable Catches (TACs)?

Caution! A TAC-Setter’s Guide to the ‘Precautionary Approach’

How (not) to implement the ecosystem-based approach when setting Total Allowable Catches (TACs)

Linking the law to biological reference points used in scientific advice when setting Total Allowable Catches (TACs)

(Lack of) catch documentation under the landing obligation and how exemptions may defeat rather than prove the rule

For an evaluation of the TACs agreed at December Council for 2015-2020 please refer to ClientEarth’s comprehensive report: Taking stock 2020 – are TACs set to achieve MSY?

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