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The phasing in of the Landing Obligation between 2015 and 2019 has been associated with a change from setting ‘Total Allowable Catches’ (TACs) based on landings (reflecting that unwanted catches would be discarded) to setting them based on catches (assuming that all catches, unless subject to exemptions, would now be landed). However, despite the Landing Obligation having fully come into force in 2019, it is widely recognised that compliance remains poor.
This mini-briefing explains why the approach of setting TACs based on catch (rather than landings) advice in the absence of full compliance will lead to, or exacerbate, overfishing, since discards on top of the catch-based TACs continue. In conclusion, decision-makers need to ensure full compliance (for example through the use of REM) if they are to continue basing TACs on catch advice, or develop a way of accounting for non-compliance in TAC-setting and/or the allocation of TAC shares to vessels.
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.
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?