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Report of the Expert Meeting to Develop Technical Guidelines to Reduce Bycatch of Marine Mammals in Capture Fisheries. Rome, Italy, 17–19 September 2019












​FAO. 2020. Report of the Expert Meeting to Develop Technical Guidelines to Reduce Bycatch of Marine Mammals in Capture Fisheries. Rome, Italy, 17–19 September 2019. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Report No. 1289, Rome.




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    Fishing operations - Guidelines to prevent and reduce bycatch of marine mammals in capture fisheries 2021
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    The Guidelines to Prevent and Reduce Bycatch of Marine Mammals in Capture Fisheries were produced by FAO in response to the request from the Committee on Fisheries at its Thirty-third Session in 2018 to develop technical guidelines on this subject, and are directed at decision-makers, planners, managers and all those involved in developing and implementing policy and technical interventions which relate to the bycatch of marine mammals in fisheries.The guidelines were drafted and developed through a series of activities undertaken by FAO, including the Expert Workshop on Means and Methods for Reducing Marine Mammal Mortality in Fishing and Aquaculture Operations and the Expert Meeting to Develop Technical Guidelines to Reduce Bycatch of Marine Mammals in Capture Fisheries. They outline options for marine mammal bycatch reduction through the application of technical measures, including: spatial closures, the use of acoustic deterrents or alerting devices, modifications to fishing gear, changes in fishing operations and other strategies. The document refers to policy instruments and institutional frameworks that support the implementation of the guidelines and the conservation of marine mammals, in addition to awareness raising, communication and capacity-building actions, together with the special requirements of developing States. Finally, the guidelines address the future research and development needs for the prevention and reduction of marine mammal bycatch in capture fisheries.
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    Report of the Expert Workshop on Means and Methods for Reducing Marine Mammal Mortality in Fishing and Aquaculture Operations, Rome, Italy, 20-23 March 2018 2018
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    One of the greatest threats to species and population survival of marine mammals with their relatively slow growth and low fecundity comes from inadvertent interaction with, or capture in, fishing and aquaculture operations. FAO members have expressed great concern about bycatch of marine mammals at recent sessions of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI). At its Thirty-First Session in 2014 the Committee reiterated its support for FAO’s ongoing work on bycatch management and reduction of discards, and requested FAO to expand its efforts to effectively implement the International Guidelines on Bycatch Management and Reduction of Discards, addressing all fishing gears where bycatch, including, inter alia, that of marine mammals, and discards were a problem. At its Thirty-Second Session in 2016, the committee welcomed the offer of the United States of America to fund an expert workshop to review the findings of recent international marine mammal bycatch workshops. Within this context, FAO convened the Expert Workshop on Means and Methods for Reducing Marine Mammal Mortality in Fishing and Aquaculture Operations in Rome, Italy from 20 to 23 March 2018, which was attended by twenty-seven experts in marine mammal science and bycatch mitigation. The workshop reviewed the current state of knowledge on the issue of marine mammal bycatch, and evaluated the efficacy of different strategies and measures for mitigating bycatch and their implementation. The workshop produced some key technical outputs, including an extensive review of techniques across different gear types and species, together with a summary table and a draft decision-making tool (decision tree) which could be used to support management decision-making processes. The workshop recommended that FAO develop Technical Guidelines on means and methods for prevention and reduction of marine mammal bycatch and mortality in fishing and aquaculture operations in support of FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and as a supplement to International Guidelines on Bycatch Management and Reduction of Discards. The workshop also recommended that FAO consider establishing a global capacity development programme to support developing States in the application of the proposed guidelines.
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    Report of the 2016 Symposium on Technology Development and Sustainable Fisheries, Mérida, Mexico, 25–29 April 2016
    ICES–FAO Working Group on Fishing Technology and Fish Behaviour - FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Report No. 1182
    2019
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    The 2016 annual meeting of the ICES-FAO Working Group on Fishing Technology and Fish Behaviour (WGFTFB) was held from 25 to 29 April 2016 in Merida, Mexico. The meeting was hosted by FAO in close collaboration with the Universidad Marista de Mérida. More than 85 fishing technologists, scientists and other stakeholders, representing 23 countries from Europe, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia, attended this meeting. This report summarizes the three-day symposium, on “Technology Development and Sustainable Fisheries”, which was part of the 2016 annual meeting of the ICES-FAO WGFTFB. The symposium comprised six thematic sessions: (i) challenges and advantages in static fishing gears; (ii) encouraging technological change in capture fisheries; (iii) energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction in capture fisheries; (iv) technology and practice for managing bycatch and reducing discards; (v) innovative technologies for observing fish and fishing gear; and (vi) fishing technology to eliminate vaquita bycatch from fisheries in the Upper Gulf of California (UGC). A summary of the ICES topic groups, country reports and a general business session can be found in the 2016 ICES Working Group report. Session 1, on “Challenges and advantages of static fishing gears”, featured research using a variety of static gears, including set nets, cod pots, pontoon traps and whelk traps. Most presentations focused on issues related to gear selectivity. In Session 2, on “Encouraging technical change in capture fisheries”, the presentations focused on various techniques to facilitate change, including the application of organizational change management theory and principles, the application of a risk assessment matrix, sustainability assessment tools, and industry-led gear testing programmes. In Session 3, on “Energy and greenhouse gas reduction in capture fisheries”, presenters focused on techniques used to measure energy consumption and associated remedial action, including energy audits and waste heat recovery from combustion processes. Session 4, on “Technology and practice for managing bycatch and reducing discards”, included presentations of research carried out on a variety of fishing gear types. The overarching theme of this session was the challenge of excluding or avoiding bycatch species without loss of the target catch. Session 5, on “Innovative technologies for observing fish and fishing gear”, provided a snapshot of initiatives to better understand fish behaviour in relation to the use of certain fishing gears and to evaluate fishing gear performance, particularly with the aim of reducing bycatch. Several new technologies were described as having the potential to contribute significantly to bycatch reduction. Session 6, on “Fishing technology to eliminate vaquita bycatch from fisheries in the Upper Gulf of California (UGC)”, featured several presentations describing initiatives to reduce the bycatch of vaquita and other marine mammals. This symposium provided an opportunity for fishing technologists and other experts from ICES member countries to exchange knowledge and ideas with contemporaries from around the world, especially from non-member countries in South America and Asia. A priority research subject that emerged from this symposium was to further reduce bycatch without loss of target catch. Greater efforts are required to understand fish behaviour. This will assist fishing technologists to develop more effective gears and technologies to reduce bycatch. Awareness raising and capacity building on new fishing gears and technologies that reduce bycatch and lead to more efficient fishing operations was considered essential to increase uptake and compliance with new fishing gears by fishers.

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