Discards reform

Closed 9 Oct 2023

Opened 17 Jul 2023

Results updated 13 May 2024

We received 52 responses to this consultation. The UK Government has responded to the views received during this consultation. We have now published the summary of responses and government responses. 

Please visit the link for more details.



Discarding is when unwanted catches of fish are thrown back to sea, dead or alive, during commercial fishing operations. This is a complex problem with no easy solution. There is a discarding ban in place, called the landing obligation, but it has not been effective in changing fishing practices. We need a different approach. 

The discards reform consultation sets out proposals to change the way we manage discards in England. This will contribute to achieving the bycatch objective of the Fisheries Act 2020 and more sustainable fisheries.


Why your views matter

We are seeking views on proposals to reform the management of discards in England. This will help shape our thinking as we develop future policies and measures.

This is a 12 week consultation running from 17 July to 9 October 2023.

To submit your views, please complete the consultation questionnaire by clicking on the Online Survey link in the box below. 

You only have to respond to the questions you want to, but please answer as many questions as possible. However, you must complete the confidentiality question before responding to the survey.

Other ways to respond

We prefer you to respond using our online consultation tool, Citizen Space.

However, you can send your comments by post to:  

Discards Policy Team

Marine and Fisheries, Defra

Lancaster House

Hampshire Court

Newcastle upon Tyne


Or you may reply by email to discards@defra.gov.uk.

Please say if you would like your response to be confidential and why.

What happens next

A summary of responses to this consultation will be published on the government website at www.gov.uk/defra. We plan to do this by early 2024.

An annex to the consultation summary will list all organisations that responded but will not include personal names, addresses or other contact details.  


  • Environmental campaigners
  • All Marine Users
  • IFCAs
  • Fisheries Producer Organisations
  • Non-Government Organisation
  • Fishing Industry
  • Fishermen
  • Fishing Industry


  • Marine
  • Common Fisheries Policy
  • Fish stocks
  • Sustainable Fishing
  • Bycatch
  • Discarding