Landing obligation

The Fisheries Secretariat is working to develop, align and simplify future regulations (such as technical measures) related to the landing obligation, which is a ban on discarding unwanted catch at sea. Our aim is to reduce environmental impacts, wasteful discarding and unintended fishing mortality. The obligation to land all catch, correctly implemented, should provide the data needed to estimate total fishing mortality, enabling scientists to provide a better understanding of the state of the stocks. The landing obligation is being implemented in phases as defined in Article 15 of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (EU 1380/2013).

101102_poland_1323_LBanning discarding at sea is a tremendous shift in traditional fisheries management, which typically involved discarding all unwanted catch under many assumptions ranging from high survivability on release, to
inexhaustible seas, to management simply not knowing what else to do. Through the ambitious Common Fisheries Policy reform process, concluded in 2013, the EU decided to ban discarding of all harvested species. A number of existing laws needed amending to bring them in line with the landing obligation. This was accomplished through the Omnibus Regulation (2015/812) passed in 2015. Additional refinement of regulations is ongoing.

From January 2015, the Baltic fisheries targeting salmon, cod, sprat, and herring, and other EU-wide fisheries targeting certain pelagic stocks are the first obliged to land all catch under this new law. Additional non-target species will be included in the Baltic by 2017. Other regions and fisheries come under the landing obligation stepwise. From 2016 the landing obligation includes targeted species of certain fleet sectors in the North Sea, North Western Waters and South Western Waters, and from 2017 stocks in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and other non-EU waters lacking third country jurisdiction for EU vessels. The landing obligation should be fully in force across the EU by 2019.

Last updated: January 21, 2016

Recent publications

The landing obligation and 2016 Atlantic fishing quotas

November 12, 2015

This letter was sent to the Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries ahead of the Commission’s proposal for 2016...


Brief on the omnibus regulation

October 16, 2014

This letter with recommendations regarding the Commission proposal for amendments in connection with implementation of the landing obligation – the...


Council brief on fishing opportunities for 2015

July 3, 2014

The European Commission sets out principles for the fixing of fishing opportunities for 2015. It shows a clear commitment to...


Seal damaged fish – a joint NGO letter to BALTFISH

May 20, 2014

A joint letter from Oceana, The Fisheries Secretariat (FISH), Coalition Clean Baltic and the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC)...