Per Berggren per.berggren at newcastle.ac.uk
Tue Sep 1 07:49:10 PDT 2015

Dear Colleagues,

If you are attending the 21st Biennal Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in San Francisco and working on low cost bycatch mitigation we hope you would consider attending the following workshop:


Date/time: Sunday, 13 December 2015. 08:30-17:30.

Organizers: Per Berggren (Newcastle University, UK), Jeremy Kiszka, (Florida International University) and Andy Read (Duke University)

Contact email: per.berggren at ncl.ac.uk

Description of Proposed Workshop: Bycatch is a major conservation threat to marine mammals worldwide. To date, most efforts to assess and mitigate bycatch have focused on industrial/semi-industrial fisheries in developed countries; much less attention has been paid to bycatch in artisanal fisheries of developing countries. Artisanal fisheries account for more than 95% of employment in the world's fisheries, and the potential magnitude of marine mammal bycatch in these fisheries is enormous. Many artisanal fisheries use small-scale gillnets and wherever the use of gillnets overlaps with marine mammals there is evidence of bycatch. Currently the greatest conservation threat to marine mammals is posed by bycatch in gillnets and so these gears are the main focus of this workshop.

In industrial fisheries, the typical approach to mitigating bycatch follows a common pattern: bycatch is identified, its impact is assessed, and mitigation efforts to reduce the bycatch are then developed, tested and, finally, implemented. However, this is often a very lengthy processes, which includes a requirement to demonstrate statistically significant reduction of bycatch without undue impacts on the catch of target species. A more pragmatic approach is needed, especially in artisanal fisheries, in which mitigation is initiated immediately after bycatch is identified. Rather than waiting for an assessment, any mitigation measure leading to a bycatch reduction is put in place and the measures are then evaluated by an adaptive process implemented by fisheries participants themselves. Most currently available mitigation methods (e.g. pingers) are unsuitable for artisanal fisheries because of their cost, especially in developing countries. Nevertheless, a few promising examples of low cost mitigation strategies have been developed during the past decade, including gear switching, simple weak links and active disentanglement.

The objective of this workshop is to review and bring together information on mitigation devices/methods that can be made from locally available materials, or changing fishing practices, to reduce the bycatch of marine mammals in gillnets at little or no cost.

This will be a full day workshop (max 50 participants) divided into three sessions:

1. The first session will be dedicated to invited case study presentations on successful or unsuccessful bycatch mitigation for artisanal gillnet fisheries in a variety of geographical regions.

2. The second session (most of the day) will be dedicated to review, evaluation, discussion and collation of potential mitigation options to reduce marine mammal bycatch in artisanal gillnet fisheries. To facilitate and to make this a constructive exercise, we encourage workshop participants to submit ideas, potential prototypes or descriptions of mitigation device/methods for circulation in advance.

3. During the final session, the workshop will create a toolbox (to be placed on a suitable social media platform) of potential mitigation methods for different gillnets and geographical regions.

Cost: $80 (early bird), $90 (after September 15th, 2015).

For more information: https://www.marinemammalscience.org/conference/workshops/#bycatch

Or please contact: per.berggren at ncl.ac.uk

Many thanks for considering this and hope to see you at the workshop,

Per Berggren, Jeremy Kiszka & Andy Read

Dr Per Berggren
School of Marine Science and Technology 
Room 5.90, 5th Floor, Ridley Building 2, 
Newcastle University, NE1 7RU, UK
Phone:+44 191 208 5676
Email: per.berggren at ncl.ac.uk
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