The Ocean Modelling Forum Working Group on the Marine Mammal Protection Act Import Provisions
Andre E. Punt, Tessa B. Francis, Margaret Siple and Rob Williams
The Ocean Modeling Forum at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA, has convened a working group in response to the MarineMammal Protection Act Import Provisions, issued in 2016 by the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The rule requires nations that wish to continue exporting fish or fish products to the United States to adhere to bycatch standards comparable to those of the United States. The working group, which is developing scientific tools, resources and guidelines to help nations comply with the rule, is an international team of scientists led by AndrÃ© Punt and Tessa Francis of the University of Washington and the UW Ocean Modeling Forum, and Rob Williams of Oceans Initiative. In addition, representatives from the NOAA Offices of â€˜International Affairs and Seafood Inspectionâ€™ and â€˜Protected Resourcesâ€™ are participating as invited experts. The working group is funded by the Lenfest Ocean Program, and has four planned projects. The first two address steps in setting and applying bycatch standards: estimating abundance and assessing bycatch rates. The third will develop an online tool to synthesize data and evaluate potential management strategies. The fourth will further evaluate the applicability of the Potential Biological Removal method, the primary US bycatch standard.