Marine Wildlife Bycatch Mitigation Initiative

Defra has published a policy paper setting out its ambitions and a series of actions to reduce and, where possible, eliminate accidental capture and entanglement of sensitive marine species in fishing gear in UK waters. Sensitive marine species include seabirds, cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises), and sharks, skates and rays. Bycatch monitoring programmes in the UK estimate that thousands of these animals are caught by or entangled in fishing gear every year.

This new initiative builds on work including the UK Bycatch Monitoring Programme and Clean Catch UK and recognises that solutions to the problem need to be developed collaboratively, working with industry, NGOs and the devolved administrations, which have responsibility for fisheries policy within their jurisdictions. Where new measures to reduce bycatch and entanglement are proposed formal consultation will take place as appropriate.

The new policy is to:

  • Improve understanding of bycatch and entanglement of sensitive marine species through monitoring and scientific research
  • Identify ‘hotspot’ or high-risk areas, gear types and/or fisheries for bycatch and entanglement in the UK in which to focus monitoring and mitigation
  • Develop, adopt and implement effective measures to minimise and, where possible, eliminate bycatch and entanglement of sensitive marine species
  • Identify and adopt effective incentives for fisheries to implement bycatch and entanglement mitigation measures
  • Work with the international community to share best practice and lessons learned to contribute to the understanding, reduction and elimination of bycatch and entanglement globally

For more information follow this link.



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