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Mitigating Unwanted Catches In The Southern Iberian Hake Stock Fisheries: Improving Fishing Technology Vs Market Control Policies

José María Da-Rocha, Javier García-Cutrín, María José Gutiérrez

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Unwanted catches can be reduced by improving fishing effectiveness in targeting species and sizes and by banning their sale for human consumption. The landing obligation introduced by the European Union can be seen as a combination of these two measures, and the aim of this paper is to analyse its effects on the Southern Iberian Hake Stock fishery. To this end, reference points for a mixed fishery are computed under the two measures as the steady-state solution of a dynamic optimal management problem. Our results show that measures that improve selectivity obtain better results than sales ban strategies in terms of increasing yields and stocks and reducing discards. In particular, we find that reducing the selectivity parameters by 90% for the three early ages leads to an almost six-fold increase in the hake yield and lowers the discard rate by more than 20 percentage points. Banning the sale of the two youngest ages also increases hake yield by 21% and the discard rate by 7 percentage points.