WWF research reveals that 92% of recorded fisheries discards in the EU come from ‘bottom trawl fisheries’ which scrape the seafloor and swallow everything in their path.
In 2019, around 230,000 tonnes of discards were reported in the EU – roughly equivalent to the amount of cod that swam in the North Sea in the early 1970s, when the fish population was healthy. This is despite an EU law called the Landing Obligation that requires all vessels to bring what they catch back to port.
WWF’s research looks at discards (fish thrown overboard, usually already dead, as they aren’t the target species, are too small or in excess of a vessel’s catch quota). The study analysed the data that is publicly available; according to EU fisheries control authorities, the number of unreported cases is considerably higher.