19th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Addressing Bycatch in Artisanal Gillnet Fisheries


The Bycatch Consortium is co-hosting a workshop at the Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals.


Fisheries bycatch is the principal threat to many marine mammals. In some cases, bycatch reduction devices have been shown to mitigate the bycatch of non-target species, but the scale of the problem outpaces progress in finding solutions. In particular, bycatch in coastal gillnet fisheries is one of the most immediate threats facing many marine mammal species worldwide, including the Gulf of California porpoise (or vaquita, Phocoena sinus), dugong (Dugong dugon) and Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea). 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. This workshop will convene experts currently working on marine mammal or related bycatch issues in artisanal fisheries in developing nations. Workshop participants will (1) identify key informational needs and initial actions required to address marine mammal bycatch in artisanal gillnet fisheries, (2) identify regions, fisheries, or situations that are ripe for action, and (3) provide 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.

Given space restrictions and a desire to facilitate discussion, this workshop is limited to invited participants only. However, if there is additional space the steering committee will consider inviting additional participants. If you are interested and have relevant experience or expertise, please feel free to submit a registration form, and the workshop organizer will contact you if space is available.

Photo: NOAA