Fishing Discards

Discards are the portion of a catch of fish which is not retained on board during commercial fishing operations and is returned, often dead or dying, to the sea.

The practice of discarding is driven by economic and political factors; fish which are discarded are often unmarketable species, individuals which are below minimum landing sizes and catches of species which fishermen are not allowed to land, for instance due to quota restrictions. Discards form part of the bycatch of a fishing operation, although bycatch includes marketable species caught unintentionally. Discarding can be highly variable in time and space as a consequence of changing economic, sociological, environmental and biological factors .