Since 2015 the MINOUW project has seen researchers, scientists, technologists and policy-makers working together to develop successful solutions to reduce discards. Together with Gearing Up we want to ensure that this information is available to all those who can benefit from it, and that it has a real and lasting impact.
What is the MINOUW project?
The MINOUW project is made up of 15 different maritime science institutes and bodies from across Europe, bringing together scientists, fishers, NGOs and policy makers.
Our goal was to encourage the adoption of fishing technologies and practices that reduce unwanted catches, and that can contribute to the eventual elimination of discards in European fisheries.
To ensure success we believed it was vital to place fishers at both the centre of the design of the project and the implementation of our activities. From fieldwork, research and testing to knowledge exchanges and high level events, all stakeholders – from scientists, and fishers to NGOs and fisheries managers – participate on an equal footing, and work collaboratively to build the scientific and technical basis for achieving the goals of the project.
Selectivity brings success
Throughout the project, our research showed that using more selective fishing gear is the most effective method for reducing bycatch and discards, and one of the most cost-effective approaches for helping fishers to comply with the Landing Obligation. For example, our results showed that:
Using T90 mesh panels when trawling for European Hake brought a 50% reduction in the catch of undersized fish that would normally have to be discarded. Read more about our case study here.
The use of a guarding net in trammel net fisheries not only led to a massive decrease in bycatch (by up to 75%) but also an increase in the catch of the target species – in the case of Cuttlefish by as much as 95%. Read more about our research here.
Choosing the right tools for the job
As the MINOUW project draws to a close, our continued success relies on this information being available to all. This is why we consider the GearingUp tool an invaluable resource for fishers and scientists alike. Building a comprehensive repository of selective gear trials across the EU and making them accessible to everybody, will ensure everyone can reap the benefits of all the work undertaken into finding effective methods for reducing bycatch and discards and to create more sustainable fisheries.
By, Mike Smith, Minouw Project