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.