The group was established in 2014 in response to a request from the European Commission to address the urgent need for guidance on methods for estimating discard survival. EU Member States and Regional Advisory Councils (RAC) are interested in commissioning survival studies to investigate the feasibility of exemptions to the Landings Obligation, under Art. 15, para. 2b of the new EU Common Fisheries Policy. There are practical and scientific limitations to the methods currently available for estimating discard survival, including captive observation, vitality assessments and tagging & biotelemetry studies. Therefore, there is an urgent requirement for the provision of guidelines, and identification of best practice in these techniques.
Once the methodological guidelines are complete, the group's focus will shift to critically reviewing and collating available estimates of discard mortality. These data will then be used in a meta-analysis to improve our understanding of the explanatory variables associated with discard mortality, and identify potential mitigation measures.
This group will work by correspondence and a series of workshops to be held in 2014-2016. The first meeting took place from 17-21 February, 2014, at the ICES HQ in Copenhagen. The second meeting, also at ICES HQ, will be held 24-28 November 2014.