A Review of Regional Fisheries Management Organization Efforts in Addressing Cetacean Bycatch: Report to the International Whaling Commission
International Whaling Commission
This report serves as a high-level overview intended to summarize initiatives within RFMOs related to cetacean bycatch reduction. It is a report commissioned by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) Secretariat to provide them with an overview of RFMO efforts and policies related to cetacean bycatch, in order to help inform the IWC and its Bycatch Mitigation Initiative which RFMOs could be prioritised for collaboration on bycatch reduction. This report focuses on the following RFMO components: legally-binding conservation and management measures, observer programs, data analyses, and other voluntary progress (e.g., workshops and special collaborative projects). This information is analyzed in a semi-quantitative “bycatch mitigation effort” score, coupled with a “potential for bycatch risk,” to calculate an overall “average bycatch performance” score for each RFMO. It is important to note that this analysis was a simple, (nearly) binary review, and is limited in scope as it only reviewed efforts in paper rather than in practice.
The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Living Marine Resources (CCAMLR), and the Western and Central Pacific Fishery Commission (WCPFC) received the highest scores in relation to bycatch mitigation effort, whilst the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Pollock Resources in the Central Bering Sea (CCSBP), North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC), and North Atlantic Salmon Commission (NASCO) scored the lowest. In relation to the average bycatch performance score for tuna-RFMOs, the WCPFC, Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT), IATTC, and Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC)/ International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) scored highest to lowest respectively.