The impact of fisheries discards on scavengers in the sea

Jochen Depestele, Jordan Feekings, David G. Reid, Robin Cook, Didier Gascuel, Raphael Girardin, Michael Heath, Pierre-Yves Hernvann, Telmo Morato, Ambre Soszynski, Marie Savina-Rolland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

9 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


A scavenger is an animal that feeds on dead animals (carrion) that it has not killed itself. Fisheries discards are often seen as an important food source for marine scavengers so the reduction of discards due to the Landing Obligation may affect their populations. The literature on scavenging in marine ecosystems is considerable, due to its importance in the trophic ecology of many species. Although discards undoubtedly contribute to these species’ food sources, few can be seen to be solely dependent on carrion (including discards). Ecosystem models predicted that discards contributed very little to the diet of scavengers at a regional scale. A reduction in discards through the Landing Obligation may therefore affect populations for a few species in some areas, but generally this is unlikely to be the case. But it is challenging to identify how important discards might be to scavengers, as they are taxonomically diverse and vary in the role they play in scavenging interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe European Landing Obligation
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages34
ISBN (Print)9783030033071
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2019


  • fisheries
  • discards
  • Landing Obligation
  • trophic ecology
  • marine populations
  • modelling
  • ecosystems
  • carrion
  • discard consumption
  • food subsidies
  • food web models
  • scavengers


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