Bycatch of small cetaceans and other marine animals – Review of national reports under Council Regulation (EC) No. 812/2004 and other published documents
Reports by EU Member States on the bycatch of marine mammals, observed in conformity with Council Regulation (EC) No. 812/2004, are summarized. An evaluation of the total annual bycatch of harbour porpoises in three assessment units (Celtic and Irish Seas; North Sea; Kattegat and Belt Seas) indicates that levels are below those thought to be unsustainable, but there are unknown amounts of bias in these assessments. No updated assessment was possible in areas where ICES has previously advised that harbour porpoise bycatch is likely to need immediate mitigation measures (NW Iberia and Baltic Sea). The lack of statutory reports from some major fishing nations compromises ICES ability to assess the overall impact of fisheries on small cetaceans and other marine animals. ICES continues to advise that any moves to integrate monitoring of the bycatch of protected species in all EU waters within the Data Collection Framework needs very careful consideration of sampling regimes as such monitoring will require significant adjustments from those used to monitor commercial fish bycatch.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee