The Common Fisheries Policy contains a legal duty to keep and land fish, including those that would have been discarded in the past.
The landing obligation was introduced on a regional basis. In the UK, there is both a North Sea region and a North West Waters region, which includes all Welsh waters.
For each sea area, there is a regional advisory council. It comprises stakeholders from member states that have a fisheries interest. The council offers advice and makes recommendations to the EU Commission.
The landing obligation was introduced separately for the two main groupings of species in the North West Waters Region. Different approaches and timings were adopted for pelagic and demersal species:
- the pelagic landing obligation (from 1 January 2015)
- the demersal landing obligation (from 1 January 2016)