FAO Technical Guidelines to Prevent and Reduce Bycatch Published

29 January 2021 - The Fisheries’ and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has published a fourth supplement to its Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries.  The Guidelines to prevent and reduce bycatch of marine mammals in capture fisheries are directed at decision-makers, planners, managers, and all those involved in developing and implementing policy and technical interventions relating to the bycatch of marine mammals in fisheries.

The guidelines outline options to reduce marine mammal bycatch through the application of technical measures, including spatial closures, the use of acoustic deterrents or alerting devices, modifications to fishing gear, changes in fishing operations and other strategies. Awareness-raising, communication, and capacity-building actions are highlighted, applicable in all regions where marine mammal bycatch is a concern. The document also addresses the future research and development needs for the prevention and reduction of marine mammal bycatch in capture fisheries.

The guidelines were developed over two years, including the FAO Expert Workshop on Means and Methods for Reducing Marine Mammal Mortality in Fishing and Aquaculture Operations (2018) and the Expert Meeting to Develop Technical Guidelines to Reduce Bycatch of Marine Mammals in Capture Fisheries (2019). During the consultation process in 2020, the Joint ACCOBAMS-ASCOBANS Working Group on Bycatch provided extensive comments to the draft document, which were submitted to FAO via the Secretariat.

The FAO has also launched a new website to support their Responsible Fisheries programme, which includes work on bycatch, discards, gear marking, and marine litter.

Last updated on 16 December 2021

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Species group: 
Marine mammals