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Book chapter2019Peer reviewedOpen access

The Baltic Cod Trawl Fishery: The Perfect Fishery for a Successful Implementation of the Landing Obligation?

Valentinsson, Daniel; Ringdahl, Katja; Storr-Paulsen, Marie; Madsen, Niels


The cod fisheries in the Baltic Sea were among the first EU fisheries with a full implementation of the EU Landing Obligation (LO) or so-called 'discard ban', phased in from 2015 onwards. This chapter describes key aspects for the successful management of Baltic cod such as the long history of scientific data collection for stock assessment and cod management as well as a well-documented history of work aimed at increased selectivity in cod trawls. We then analyse how the scientific data used for stock assessment has been affected by the LO and how the knowledge of Baltic cod selectivity has been used and developed since its introduction. We conclude that in spite of many good prerequisites, the introduction of the LO in Baltic cod fisheries has been unsuccessful and has failed to deliver any of the expected benefits. Data quality for stock assessments has deteriorated, discarding of cod has not decreased despite a reduced minimum size and there are no indications of increased gear selectivity in the fishery. Finally, we propose potential explanations for this failure and recommend actions that may be needed to make the Landing Obligation more successful.


Baltic Sea; Common fisheries policy; Discard ban; Discards; European Union; Regionalisation; Selectivity; Trawl

Published in

Title: The European Landing Obligation: Reducing Discards in Complex, Multi-Species and Multi-Jurisdictional Fisheries
ISBN: 978-3-030-03307-1, eISBN: 978-3-030-03308-8
Publisher: Springer International Publishing