Request from EU concerning monitoring of bycatch of cetaceans and other protected species
1. Monitoring schemes. Sampling under the Data Collection Framework (DCF) can contribute to the assessment of bycatch of cetaceans and other species, but is not sufficient on its own as currently implemented by Member States. Not all fisheries are adequately covered and many issues, including design and sampling protocols would need to be modified/extended if DCF monitoring was to be the sole source of information. Monitoring under Regulation 812/2004 is much more specific for cetaceans, and has included the use of dedicated observers and remote electronic video recording. Development of remote electronic video recording seems likely to be a cost-effective way of assessing bycatch in the future.
2. Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs). ICES advises that regulation should not inhibit the development of more effective devices to deter harbour porpoises and other marine mammals from fishing gear. The characteristics of existing ADDs, which can deter harbour porpoises from fishing gear, are known. These characteristics cannot though be used to define all effective devices. Further studies would be needed to define standards for harbour porpoises and for ADDs that would be effective for other marine mammal species. To allow further development of ADDs, ICES recommends that a performance standard should be set. For an ADD to become acceptable, it should have a proven ability to reduce bycatch of the relevant species in the setting of a commercial fishery.
3. Reference points. Robust methods for setting reference points for bycatch of protected species already exist. ICES recommends that a process involving both managers and scientists be established to set species- and, where relevant, population-specific reference points. ICES proposes that a Bycatch Risk Approach be used to classify fisheries in terms of risk to protected species.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee