The prompt for information, based on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ICES and the EC, called on ICES for new details on the effects fisheries have on components of the ecosystem such as cetaceans (dolphins and porpoises), other marine mammals, seabirds, and habitats.
Whilst advice on seabird bycatch was put out last December , this round of advice focuses on small cetaceans and other sea animals unwantedly caught in the nets of fishing vessels.
The advice expresses the uncertainty in evaluation, despite the fact that the assessment of some fisheries pointed to bycatch rates about sustainability limits. A bias may also exist due to the monitoring of fisheries with higher bycatch. Consequently better quality data is required from EU member countries before conclusions can be drawn on the overall bycatch of harbour porpoise in the North Sea.
Additionally, ICES suggests managers and scientists unite in a process aimed at setting reference points that are species specific and, where relevant, population specific.
Harbour porpoise, Sognefjord, Norway; Photo: Florian Granar