The Marine Mammal Bycatch Working Group of the Lenfest Ocean Program has released a new factsheet collating best practices for assessing and managing marine mammal bycatch. Bycatch in marine fisheries is the leading source of human-caused mortality of marine mammals globally.
According to the Ocean Modelling Forum Marine Mammal Bycatch Working Group, developing quantitative assessments and monitoring programs would enable nations to determine where, how, and the rates at which marine mammal bycatch is occurring, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of potential mitigation measures.
Composed of an international team of experts, the Working Group produced a suite of products and tools that explore how to:
- understand which fisheries have a bycatch problem;
- collect the best data to quantify marine mammal abundance and bycatch;
- develop reference points for setting measurable conservation or recovery goals; and
- monitor progress towards such goals.
The factsheet gives a series of actionable steps to achieve the following: quantify abundance and bycatch, plan for a bycatch assessment, collect appropriate data and estimate bycatch, conduct a bycatch assessment, and act on results of assessments to help reduce bycatch.
The Marine Mammal Bycatch Working Group factsheet provides practical guidance that enables managers to evaluate abundance and bycatch and set priorities, and a framework for reducing bycatch like that used in the U.S.
More bycatch resources and guidance can be found in the marine mammal bycatch factsheet of the Marine Mammal Management Toolkit.