Estimates of discards by the Dutch pelagic freezer-trawler fleet were derived based on data from observers on board commercial vessels. In all, 27 fishing trips of duration 2¿5 weeks each were sampled between 2002 and 2005, covering the North Sea and the western waters of the British Isles. Different methods to estimate discards were compared, and raising these estimates by number of trips or by total landings did not greatly influence the annual estimates of total discards. Some 30 000 t of fish were discarded annually by the fleet, the commercial target species mackerel, herring, and horse mackerel being discarded most, with 41%, 19%, and 15% of the total discards by weight, respectively. The most commonly discarded non-commercial species was boarfish, accounting for 5% of total discards. Slippage accounts for 10% of all discards, and the most common species slipped is herring. There is extensive discarding of juvenile mackerel in the horse mackerel fishery, and to a lesser extent highgrading of mackerel in the same fishery.