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© Regina Asmutis-Silvia, minutes before snow squall

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Future fishing rules must include better bycatch monitoring and reduction

Future fishing rules in European waters, like elsewhere in the world, need to include transparent management and better mitigation of marine life bycatch – for all countries, whether or not they are part of the EU.

WDC are calling for a clear, effective strategy to identify the steps that are required by all countries that share European waters to reduce bycatch of porpoises, dolphins and whales towards zero. WDC, with experts from other organisations, have published this week on the necessary steps required to better protect cetaceans from bycatch

Bycatch remains a major conservation and welfare concern in European waters, with high numbers of harbour porpoises, dolphins and whales continuing to die each year. Steps urgently needed include to:

  • Improve collection of data on fishing activities
  • Improve and unify cetacean population surveillance and bycatch monitoring, with better implementation and enforcement
  • Develop a more regionalised evidence-based approach to monitoring and mitigation
  • Robustly show that bycatch levels are decreasing over time
  • Develop an Action Plan to identify in detail the steps required to reduce cetacean bycatch in European waters