Poor quota utilization has been observed in multispecies fisheries in Europe, North America, and elsewhere. Quota utilization is influenced by many factors including management strategy (e.g. input or output controls), market opportunities, availability of fish (both temporally and spatially), regulations governing gear specifications, access to fishing grounds, and overly optimistic quotas. Additional factors may come into play in mixed or multispecies fisheries including species interactions, tactical and technical aspects of fishing practice, and aspects of quota management which may constrain quota utilization by individual participants, cooperatives, or entire fleets.
Fishing opportunities can be further constrained by management rules designed to reduce bycatch and discards, including comprehensive discard bans such as those that have been in place in several countries for decades, and in the European Union since 2015. A “choking" effect may become apparent under such regulations when low quotas of some (choke) species prevent full utilization of more abundant stocks. Closure or relocation may become necessary unless mechanisms that allow flexibility through quota sharing or trading are put in place. To adapt to these circumstances, fishers must now determine how best to minimize catches of low-value or unmarketable fish as well as maximize the value their overall catches.
Theme session P seeks contributions on the following topics: