Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), in close consultation and collaboration with industry representatives through the Sea-Fisheries Protection Consultative Committee is pleased to announce the publication of a comprehensive online guide on exemptions to the landing obligation. This guide, developed to assist vessel masters in adhering to landing obligation requirements, is now accessible at: https://www.sfpa.ie/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=Qj_N0Q6QlQE%3d&portalid=0&resourceView=1

Under the landing obligation, all catch subject to Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits must be retained, recorded, and landed, unless an exemption applies. The SFPA’s new guide offers detailed instructions on how discards can be recorded using ieCatch V3, the latest version of the Irish electronic logbook software. It includes step-by-step procedures, illustrated with screenshots and examples, for logging discards. Additionally, a video tutorial for electronic logbook users, is available on their logbook desktop.

In addition to the guide, a video tutorial on the landing obligation is available on the SFPA website, providing a visual aid to complement the written instructions and further assist vessel masters and owners. The video tutorial can be accessed here:  https://vimeo.com/824706480/9298ac43a9

The following species are exempt from the landing obligation:

  1. Prohibited/protected species
  2. Non-TAC species
  3. Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO) species
  4. Predator-damaged species
  5. High survivability species
  6. De minimis species

Only some species that meet specific requirements may be discarded under high survivability and de minimis. High survivability species are those that have a proven ability to survive after being returned to the water. The de minimis discard allowance permits small quantities of species to be discarded when caught in certain areas with specific gear types, acknowledging the limitations of technical measures to completely avoid unwanted catches. The guide lists in detail the species eligible for discarding under these categories and the specific conditions that must be met for each. It’s important to note that these exemptions are valid until the end of 2023, subject to changes in European legislation.

It is imperative for fishing vessel masters and owners to familiarise themselves with this guide to ensure accurate recording of discards and compliance with conditions for discarding under de minimis and high survivability. Accurate reporting of discards plays a role in the sustainable management of our marine resources.

For any questions or further clarification on this guide, please contact the SFPA at sfpafood&fisheriessupport@sfpa.ie. We are committed to providing assistance and guidance to support compliance with the relevant legislation.

Further information on the landing obligation can be found on the SFPA website under the Landing Obligation Fishery Information Notice at: https://www.sfpa.ie/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=KvmsM3SBI9w%3d&portalid=0&resourceView=1

The SFPA is appreciative of the assistance of the members of the Sea-Fisheries Protection Consultative Committee who assisted in the production of this guide.