Report of the Working Group on Bycatch of Protected Species (WGBYC). 4–8 February, Copenhagen, Denmark

The Working Group on Bycatch of Protected Species (WGBYC) met in Copenhagen at ICES headquarters between 4 and 9 February 2013. The meeting was chaired by Bram Couperus (Netherlands) and was attended by 18 members from ten nations. Of these, one member participated by video conferencing and one member by corre-spondence. Since the group started as Study Group on Bycatch of Protected Species (SGBYC) in 2008 the broad aim of the meeting is to collate and review recent information on the bycatch of protected species, especially under the requirements of EC Regulation 812/2004, to coordinate bycatch monitoring and bycatch mitigation trials and to dis-seminate and review information on methodologies associated with these topics. The group recently refocused the aim to work on the incorporation of monitoring re-quirements into the new Data Collection Framework (DCF) since the EC decided not to amend EU Regulation 812/2004 and to implement monitoring tasks for protected and endangered species in the future in the DCMAP by close cooperation with ICES expert groups (Planning Group on Commercial Catch, Discards and Biological Sam-pling/ Study Group on Practical Implementation of Discard Sampling Plans; PGCCDBS/SGPIDS and Regional Coordination Meetings (RCMs). This objective is consistent with a move to a wider ecosystem based approach to fisheries monitoring to include bycatch of cetaceans, seals, birds, turtles and non-target fish species. Abundances of cetaceans, DCF catch and discards monitoring, and monitoring effort under the current Regulation 812/2004 were put together in a database to facilitate an overview of current gaps and overlap in monitoring. This process was hampered by the use of different units or definitions of areas in datasets. However, we believe that identifications of these problem in itself is a valuable preparation for the coming Workshop on Bycatch of Protected Species (WKBYC), designed to address a recent additional “Request from EU concerning monitoring bycatch of cetaceans and other protected species” (DGMARE, 14 December 2012). The Working Group reviewed and commented on EU Member States’ reports under council Regulation 812/2004 to assess the status of information on recent bycatch es-timates and evaluate the extent of the implementation of bycatch mitigation measures. It was noted that estimates are still very patchy, and several EU member states have not fulfilled their monitoring obligations. Bycatch monitoring remains less than optimally directed in many cases. Observer effort may not be representative of fleet effort and any extrapolated numbers derived solely in this report are uncertain and should be treated with caution. WGBYC reviewed recent bycatch mitigation trials, including trials of gillnet modifi-cations and experiments that attempt to quantify the effect of pingers on porpoise displacement. Similar to WGBY previous assessments, implementation of bycatch mitigation measures was also found to be patchy; with few EU member states able to provide unequivocal confirmation that the obligations under Regulation 812/2004 for pinger deployment are being met. WGBYC continued to develop a streamlined and effective database for the collation, storage and analysis of European bycatch moni-toring and fishing effort data for those fishing sectors where bycatch monitoring is mandated under Regulations 812/2004.
How to cite
ICES (2013). Report of the Working Group on Bycatch of Protected Species (WGBYC). 4–8 February, Copenhagen, Denmark. CIEM / ICES. Ref. ICES CM 2013/ACOM:27. 73p.

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