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    22ND BIENNIAL CONFERENCE ON THE BIOLOGY OF MARINE

    MAMMALS

    HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA

    OCTOBER 2017

    MARINE MAMMAL BYCATCH IN GLOBAL FISHERIES:

    A WORKSHOP SUMMARY OF MITIGATION MEASURES,

    TOOLS, & SOLUTIONS

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    The presentation of the material in this publication does not imply the expression of any opinion

    whatsoever on the part of the Marine Mammal Commission, the Society of Marine Mammalogy,

    or any other organization involved. This work instead provides a summary of workshop

    proceedings with no attributable comments to any individual or entity. We are, however, grateful

    for the support by the aforementioned, as well as the workshop organizers, in producing this

    summary.

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    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    INTRODUCTION ...........................................................................................................................3

    1. OVERVIEW OF MARINE MAMMAL BYCATCH: WORKSHOP #1 ..............................3

    1.1 Small-scale coastal fisheries ..........................................................................................3

    1.2 The use of multilateral and global organizations ...........................................................4

    1.3 Incentivizing approaches ...............................................................................................4

    1.4 Getting the message out .................................................................................................5

    2. DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF LOW-COST METHODS TO REDUCE

    CETACEAN BYCATCH IN SMALL SCALE GILLNET FISHERIES:

    WORKSHOP #2… ................................................................................................................6

    3. CATCHING THE RIGHT FISH – A TOOLBOX FOR PLACE-BASED RISK

    ASSESSMENT OF MARINE MAMMAL BYCATCH: WORKSHOP #3 ..........................6

    4. TIMELINE MOVING FORWARD: MEETINGS TO CONSIDER FOR PUSHING

    FORWARD THE BYCATCH CONVERSATION ................................................................7

    5. APPENDIX I: SUPPLEMENTAL NOTES ............................................................................8

    5.1 Workshop #1 Notes........................................................................................................8

    5.2 Workshop #2 Notes......................................................................................................20

    5.3 Workshop #3 Notes......................................................................................................29

    6. APPENDIX II: WORKSHOP AGENDAS & REGISTRANTS ...........................................34

    6.1 Workshop #1 Program & Registrants ..........................................................................34

    6.2 Workshop #2 Program & Registrants ..........................................................................37

    6.3 Workshop #3 Program & Registrants ..........................................................................39

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    INTRODUCTION

    Bycatch is the greatest direct source of mortality for marine mammals world-wide,

    accounting for an estimated 600,000 dead animals each year (Read et al., 2006). In some cases,

    bycatch is the primary reason for the decline, lack of recovery, or even extinction of a species as

    in the case of the baiji or Yangtze River dolphin (Lipotes vexiler) (Turvey et al., 2007) and the

    now critically endangered vaquita porpoise (Thomas et al., 2017). Despite the magnitude of the

    threat posed by accidental fishery interactions, bycatch mitigation and monitoring still do not

    attract the level of research, practical implementation efforts, or necessary political will to make

    measurable and effective progress. Indeed, it was estimated that at the Society for Marine

    Mammalogy (SMM) meeting in Halifax in October 2017, a scant five percent of the presentations

    addressed assessment or mitigation of bycatch.

    A series of three workshops on approaches and solutions for bycatch mitigation were held

    immediately following the SMM meeting. A consensus view from these workshops is that

    immediate actions are needed to reduce marine mammal bycatch globally to prevent additional

    species extinctions.

    This document summarizes each of the three workshops and offers several

    recommendations for future action and research. In addition, a timeline of upcoming events

    highlights opportunities to continue to make progress in monitoring and reducing marine mammal

    bycatch.

    1. OVERVIEW OF MARINE MAMMAL BYCATCH: WORKSHOP #1

    The first workshop was a one-day event, with a particular focus on multidisciplinary

    approaches to addressing marine mammal bycatch. Each session addressed a number of challenges

    and offered potential solutions to each.

    1.1 Small-scale coastal fisheries

    These are often gillnet-based fishing operations characterized by weak or ineffective

    governance and with little to no data. In addition, these fisheries are “beyond the reach” of market

    incentives or regional fishery governance, which might otherwise offer some options. At the same

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    time, low-cost options such as empty soda bottles as “acoustic deterrents”, can be designed in

    collaboration with the fishery operators. Engaging local community stakeholders is critical, as

    demonstrated by the successful “River Guard” programs in Cambodia (see cover page image).

    Spatial models can also help provide the type of data useful for assessing the risk and approximate

    level of marine mammal interactions in the fishery. Marine mammal bycatch can be a source of

    great economic loss to some fisheries as marine mammals cause damage and/or loss of fishing

    gear. One estimate of small scale fishery gear loss in Peru due to large whale entanglement was

    $300 US per entanglement event, an astounding figure given the average annual income of

    fishermen there ($6000-7500).

    1.2 The use of multilateral and global organizations

    Several Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs) have adopted binding or

    voluntary measures to allow for some level of monitoring and mitigation of marine mammal

    bycatch. Progress is very slow, however, with few RFMOs having binding measures such as a

    prohibition on setting on marine mammals. The September 2017 Ecosystem and Bycatch

    Workshop of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) included significant progress on

    addressing marine mammal bycatch in tuna gillnets. At the more global scale, the Food and

    Agriculture Organization (FAO) Committee on Fisheries (COFI) is organizing a workshop in

    March 2018 with funding from the U.S. NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. With the

    ultimate goal of developing marine mammal bycatch guidelines (similar to those developed by

    FAO for sea turtle and sea bird bycatch), this workshop can help reach developing country fisheries

    and also stimulate change through regional and national fishery management. The International

    Whaling Commission (IWC) is increasingly engaged in bycatch, including a new Working Group

    on marine mammal bycatch, and the hire of a bycatch coordinator. The important work by IWC

    on disentanglement training also continues.

    1.3 Incentivizing approaches

    Various government, private eco-label programs, and one-on-one arrangements are underway

    to reward fishery operators for reductions in marine mammal bycatch. This alternative to top-down

    regulatory approaches has proven effective in addressing both terrestrial and marine environmental

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    issues. A big focus at this workshop was the recent rulemaking by NOAA Fisheries calling for

    countries exporting seafood to the U.S. market to ensure that their marine mammal bycatch

    measures are comparable in effectiveness to standards in the United States. This is an interesting

    “unilateral” approach to addressing marine mammal bycatch through the incentive of ensuring

    market access. A draft “list of fisheries” has been published and highlights nearly 2,600 fisheries

    world-wide that are proposed as needing action in order to continue to have access to the U.S.

    market. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) recently certified the Mexican dolphin-set tuna

    fishery; the MSC is in the process or revising their standards for marine mammal interaction, which

    could be an important opportunity to raise the bar on monitoring and mitigating marine mammal

    bycatch. Studies on retail prices for seafood in the Southern California market demonstrate the

    “revealed preference” for sustainably harvested seafood given price differentials for labels such as

    “wild”, “Baja”, or otherwise eco-labelled fishery products. Fishery sector examples (such as U.S.

    Atlantic pelagic longline Bluefin tuna bycatch) demonstrate the potential utility of establishing

    some form of transferable “rights” or “credits” to marine mammal bycatch.

    1.4 Getting the message out and mobilizing action

    Given the alarming numbers of marine mammals killed or injured in some

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