International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
NEAFC SR_2023_ Report on bird bycatch in the NEAFC RA .pdf (4.3 MB)

Monitoring seabird bycatch in the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission Regulatory Area

Download (4.3 MB)
posted on 2024-01-25, 08:06 authored by ICESICES

In 2021, ICES received a special request for advice from the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) on bird bycatch in the NEAFC Regulatory Area (RA). Scoping exercises to ad-dress this request were carried out in 2021 and 2022 and the main results from that work are summarized in this report.

Data on monitoring effort and bycatch events were gathered through annual ICES data calls in 2021 and 2022. Only few EU countries reported limited bycatch monitoring data in the NEAFC RA in response to the data calls while major fishing nations failed to report information. No bird bycatch events were reported. For robust bycatch rate calculations and the ability to generate stratified bycatch estimates at appropriate temporal resolutions, data are needed for each bycatch event including the number of zero-bycatch events. This cannot be achieved currently with the available data.

Data on total fishing effort was submitted by NEAFC to ICES through a Memorandum of Un-derstanding that provides annual VMS and catch data. The quality of the data provided to ICES by NEAFC has grown markedly in recent years enabling more precise linking of vessel catches to corresponding activities. However, important issues are still of concern. For example, the species composition of the catch targeted by midwater trawlers (e.g. blue whiting, mackerel, and herring) does not overlap with those recorded in catches taken with demersal gears (e.g. haddock, Pandalus). The catch composition by species provided in catch reports (as opposed to the gear information) is used to determine if a vessel is engaged in bottom or midwater fishing. This approach does not provide data (e.g. gear type, mesh size, selectivity devices) at a sufficiently granular level to align with the métier-based approach required for seabird bycatch analysis. In addition, fishing effort reported with longlines in very deep waters (i.e. too deep for commercial fishing) to the northwest of Josephine Seamount was not associated with catch reports. These vessels are assumed to be targeting tunas, which are not regulated by NEAFC, but from a bird-bycatch perspective, represent a data gap.


Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee

  • FRSG


ICES Business Reports





Contributors (Authors)

Mikel Basterretxea, Kim Magnus Bærum, Neil Campbell, Volker Dierschke, Christian von Dorrien, Ruth Fernandez, Gildas Glemarec, Allen Kingston, Henn Ojaveer, Nuno Oliveira Carlos Pinto, Gudjon Mar Sigurdsson

Recommended citation

ICES. 2023. Monitoring seabird bycatch in the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission Regulatory Area. ICES Business Reports, 03: 02. 11 pp.

Usage metrics

    ICES Business Reports



    Ref. manager