United Nations
Industry and research driven development and introduction of selective and low impact fishing gears
by Sweden (Government)
Unwanted catches and discarding is a major problem in commercial fisheries around the world.

Both the ecological and economical sustainability of a fishery is directly affected by the amount of unwanted catches. One of the main purposes of the new common fishery policy of the European union is to reduce unwanted catches as far as possible. Therefore, an obligation to land all catches of quota species (discard ban) has been introduced. Unwanted catches can be avoided by changing the fishing operation, starting with the choice of when and where to fish and by choosing a more selective gear for the target sizes/species.

A four-year government assignment was adopted between 2014 and 2017 to facilitate the technical development and use of more selective gears in the Swedish fishing industry. A secretariat and a model to facilitate the interactions between the industry and the science were established, to manage ideas from the industry and refine these ideas to industry driven projects. Suggested projects have been selected for funding dependent of how well it fits with the needs implied by the landing obligation. The reason for using this model has been to minimise the economic risks for the participating fishers during both the development phase and scientific evaluation of the project.

Since the start in 2014, over 30 projects have been allocated funds from the secretariat, 19 have been finished, 13 are ongoing and 2 more will start during 2017. The different projects have covered most commercial species caught in Swedish fishery, both with active gears (trawls) and passive gears (trap and pots). Several new selective gears have then been developed and adopted by management and are used by Swedish fishers today.

The aim of the project is to further develop selective and low impact gears and writing a handbook on selectivity in gears, including:
- To summarize current knowledge, both national and international;
- To gather knowledge gaps about fisheries who still needs further development of selective gears;
- To enhance projects with the industry where we find knowledge gaps; and
- To spread the information;
Progress reports
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Type of commitment
  • Reduction and elimination fishing practices and gear that destroy/degrade marine habitat
  • Ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF)
  • Reduction of fisheries by-catch and product waste/losses
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
  • Economic benefits from sustainable fisheries
Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
Type of commitment
  • Transfer of fishing technology
December 2017
Phase I: Report the outcome from the first four-years both nationally and internationally
February 2017
Phase I: Finish ongoing projects and start the two last projects of 2017
January 2021
Phase II (2018-2021): Develop selective and low impact gears with a focus on fisheries with poor selectivity and/or where the needs of new selective gears are the largest
January 2021
Phase II (2018-2021): Facilitate the spread of knowledge to the industry and international management forums
Other, please specify
Sweden has contributed 4,386,995 USD during 2014 V 2017. Future budgetary commitments remain to be defined
Basic information
Time-frame: September 2015 - December 2021
Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources
Ocean Basins
  • Global
  • North Atlantic
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Countries within the North East Atlantic region, Member states of European Union, Norway, North Sea Advisory Council (NSAC), Baltic Sea Advisory Council (BSAC), NGO´s, Other Regional Seas Organizations and collaborations targeting the same issue
Contact information
Hans Nilsson, Researcher, SLU, Hans.nilsson@slu.se , +46 104784040
Uppsala, Sweden
Other SDGs
United Nations