While most of the research and development of bycatch reduction methods is focused in developed nations and commercial fisheries, some of the most severe coastal gillnet bycatch challenges are likely to be found in artisanal gillnet fisheries in developing nations. Efforts to address challenges in these coastal regions are stymied by a lack of information on the extent of the bycatch problem and the status of the species affected, as well as by social, cultural and economic factors that can cause artisanal fishing communities to resist implementing mitigation measures. At the 2011 biennial meeting of the Society of Marine Mammology, the Consortium for Wildlife Bycatch Reduction and NOAA Fisheries hosted a workshop and included experts currently working on marine mammal or related bycatch issues in artisanal fisheries in developing nations. Workshop participants identified key informational needs and initial actions required to address marine mammal bycatch in artisanal gillnet fisheries; identified regions, fisheries, or situations that are ripe for action; and provided recommendations for a follow-on workshop to be held in late 2012 that will focus on catalyzing action to address bycatch in one or more artisanal gillnet fisheries.
Read the report compiled by Mike Simpkins, NOAA Fisheries