[MARMAM] Assessment of the bycatch level for the Black Sea harbour porpoise

Pavel Gol'din pavelgoldin412 at gmail.com
Fri Mar 17 02:53:54 PDT 2023

Dear colleagues,

Here we inform you that our paper came out and share the link to the open
access publication. This is the first basin wide estimate which has been
published as a journal paper and it is quite high. All the comments and
responses will be greatly appreciated.

Pavel Gol'din

Popov D, Meshkova G, Vishnyakova K, Ivanchikova J, Paiu M, Timofte C, Amaha
Öztürk A, Tonay AM, Dede A, Panayotova M, Düzgünes¸ E and Gol’din P (2023)
Assessment of the bycatch level for the Black Sea harbour porpoise in the
light of new data on population abundance. Front. Mar. Sci. 10:1119983.
doi: 10.3389/fmars.2023.1119983

Incidental catch in fishing gear (often known as bycatch) is a major
mortality factor for the Black Sea harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena
relicta), an endemic subspecies listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List.
The primary gear, responsible for porpoise bycatch in the Black Sea are
bottom gillnets and trammel nets targeting turbot (Scophthalmus spp.), the
most valuable commercial fish species in the Black Sea. From 2019 to 2021,
a study was conducted in Bulgaria, Romania, Türkiye and Ukraine, to
estimate the bycatch level in light of new information on porpoise
distribution and abundance obtained from aerial surveys (CeNoBS).  Bycatch
data were collected by independent observers onboard turbot fishing boats
(Bulgaria and Romania), complemented by questionnaire surveys and
examination of stranded carcasses (in all countries). The total annual
bycatch of harbour porpoises in the Black Sea was roughly estimated as
between 11 826 and 16 200 individuals. Given the new estimates of porpoise
abundance based on the CeNoBS survey of 2019 and reconciling abundance and
bycatch estimates, harbour porpoise bycatch in the Black Sea represents
between 4.6% - 17.2% of the estimated total population, depending on
assumptions used. Even the most conservative estimate is among the highest
worldwide and far exceeds the probable sustainable levels of around
1.0-1.7%. This study confirms that bycatch poses the most serious threat to
the Black Sea harbour porpoises and that all riparian countries engaged in
turbot fisheries must implement urgent measures to reduce it immediately,
if the population is to survive in the long-term.
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