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Mixed-fish commercial categories as a strategy for reducing discards from the small-scale fleet

AutorGil, María del Mar; Palmer, Miquel ; Roselló, Rosario; Alós, Josep ; Cabanellas-Reboredo, Miguel ; Grau, Antoni Maria; Morales-Nin, Beatriz
Palabras claveEuropean discard ban
Mixed-fish commercial category
Small-scale fishery
Western Mediterranean
Fecha de publicaciónsep-2018
CitaciónFisheries Research 205: 105-114 (2018)
ResumenMediterranean small-scale fleets catch a substantial amount of untargeted fish that are sold at a low market price. Most of these catches are pooled into mixed-fish boxes (MFBoxes), which are usually labeled and sold as mixed-fish commercial categories (MFCategories). In this paper, we describe the MFBoxes and the MFCategories from the small-scale fleet of Mallorca Island in terms of species composition, size distribution and economic value. We used (i) daily sales records of MFCategories between 2004 and 2015 and (ii) a sample of 141 photographs of MFBoxes, collected over one year (2009–2010). MFCategories represent a non-negligible fraction of the landings, between 18 and 51 tons/year which represents 100–300 K€/year. Some of the sampled MFBoxes were sold as one of the three identified MFCategories, which differ in species composition, size and average price (3.9 €/kg for the category LARGE MORRALLA, 2.2 €/kg for SMALL MORRALLA and 7.0 €/kg for VARIAT). However, more than half (52%) of the sampled MFBoxes were actually labeled and sold not as MFCategories but as one of the most abundant species in the box. This strategy might seem unprofitable because the market price is lower for MFBoxes sold as non-mixed categories than for non-mixed boxes of the same category. However, we observed that the label itself does not affect the selling price, but species composition does. Therefore, when sorting fish into boxes, fishers may be trying to optimize the tradeoff between not selling some low-priced fish and mixing them with other more valued fish. This alternative marketing strategy should be explored in depth and properly assessed, not only to maximize profits but also to promote a zero-discard European policy.
Versión del editorhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2018.04.011
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