ICES Working Group of Bycatch of Protected Species (WGBYC) meeting
The event ICES Working Group of Bycatch of Protected Species (WGBYC) ocurred between 5 and 8 of march in the rectory's seminar room at the University of Algarve.
The WGBYC reviews EU Member States' actions under Regulation 812/2004, which lays down obligations on bycatch monitoring and mitigation of cetacean bycatch. It provides advice to ICES Advisory committee (ACOM) detailing to what extent these obligations are being met and on how the monitoring of protected species bycatch can be improved.
The WGBYC also looks at relevant bycatch mitigation measures and helps coordinate relevant experimental work. More recently the group has also focused on how protected species monitoring might be addressed under the Data Collection Framework (DCF). Portugal has been na annual participant in the meeting since 2012.
In this meeting particularly, issues regarding by-catch monitoring, by-catch estimates and mitigation works regarding interactions of protected species and fisheries, with the main focus on cetaceans, marine birds and elasmobranchs were discussed within the framework of the Regulation 812/2004 for each member state. Reports submited by each member state in 2018 with protected species by-catch information and monitoring schemes regarding 2017 were analysed. The output of the meeting will be a report that will be available publically in June 2019. From Portugal not only CCMAR was present, but also IPMA-Olhão was invited to present results on a mitigation study being conducted about the use of pingers in set nets off the coast of Quarteira.
Ana Marçalo, a CCMAR researcher is the Portuguese participant since 2012 of the WGBYC anual meeting. Last year, Ana invited the group in the name of CCMAR to hold the meeting in University of Algarve, Gambelas Campus, Faro, which was accepted immediately. For this year´s meeting, Jorge Gonçalves was invited to present projects held in the the Fisheries Biodiversity and Conservation Group, with the main focus on the project Mar2020-iNOVPESCA that is co-coordenated by Jorge and Ana and studies the interactions of cetaceans with coastal fisheries in the Algarve coast, promoting mitigation solutions to reduce the impact of the interactions, either reducing incidental by-catch of the cetaceans and lower economic losses to the fishermen.
The meeting had 20 participants from various EU countries with expertise in cetacean, marine birds and fish biology and ecology, representing their respective institutions (about 16 institutions represented).
UAlg´s Mar2020 iNOVPESCA will start in the Spring 2019 mitigation trials with acoustic alarms in gill nets and purse seiners off the coast of Algarve and preliminar results of this work are expected to be presented in next year´s meeting (Wageningen, Netherlands, 2020).