MSC and New England Aquarium Developing Bycatch Mitigation Tool

Lucy Towers
24 November 2014, at 12:00am

GLOBAL - The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and New England Aquarium are working together to create an online tool that will help share information and ideas about the mitigation and avoidance of unwanted catch.

The MSC is calling upon anyone with an interest in fisheries and fisheries management to take part in a survey in order to help develop the tool. The survey should take 10-15 minutes, and needs to be completed by 30 November 2014.

The online tool will be a free to use public resource that will provide the best available information on minimising and/or avoiding unwanted catch.

Benefit to fisheries in assessment

The Bycatch Information Exchange will be of particular benefit to fisheries that are being assessed against the MSC Fisheries Standard version 2.0.

The recently updated standard requires in assessment or certified fisheries to consider options for minimising mortality of unwanted catches. A fishery will need to adopt a new measure if it is found to be more effective at minimising the unwanted catch mortality, and is practical and not cost prohibitive to implement.

"Minimising unwanted catch to lowest achievable levels is a core part of the MSC standard and, through certification, fisheries are able to demonstrate a commitment to lessening their overall impact on the marine environment," explains Stephanie Good, Fisheries Assessment Manager at the MSC.

Potential far-reaching value of new tool

The potential value for an online bycatch information exchange also extends beyond the MSC. It could be accessed by a range of different users, including fishers, fisheries managers, researchers, funders, Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) providers, environmental Non-Governmental Organisations and/or those interested in bycatch mitigation and avoidance more generally.

Once developed, the Bycatch Information Exchange will provide an interactive web-based platform that includes a searchable database of bycatch mitigation and avoidance measures and techniques, with associated summary information, contacts, links to any papers or reports, and possibly reviews.

Take part in the Bycatch Information Exchange survey, here.