Peer review of cetacean bycatch management information and data in the WCPFC BMIS
Larissa Fitzsimmons and Neville Smith
International Whaling Commission
The Western; Central pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) Bycatch Management Information System (BMIS) is an online resource for fisheries managers, scientists, fishers, educators and the public https://www.bmis-bycatch.org/. The database consolidates information on the mitigation and management of incidental catches in pelagic tuna and billfish fisheries of species of special interest. These include seabirds, sharks and rays, marine turtles and marine mammals.
BMIS content, including literature, mitigation technique descriptions and RFMO regulations, is updated frequently. We have recently added a beta version of data collected under the Bycatch Data Exchange Protocol (BDEP), a format-standardised public domain regional (RFMO) bycatch data summary https://data.bmis-bycatch.org/, which will be updated annually.
Regular external peer review of BMIS content helps to ensure its currency, comprehensiveness and, in the case of mitigation techniques descriptions, consistency with international best practice (where this has been established). The BMIS team seek advice from the IWC SC on how it could assist (through the Scientific Committee directly and the Bycatch Mitigation Initiative (BMI)) with periodic peer review of cetacean related BMIS content. The BMIS team are also interested in collaborative efforts to further improve the availability of BDEP data through BMIS.