NOAA Fisheries recently released its final Action Plan for Fish Release and Mortality Science, which it hopes will reduce mortality, improve mortality estimates, and incorporate those improved estimates into stock assessments and management actions.
From NOAA Fisheries’ press release:
“In [the plan], we identify 10 actions that will better inform our science, reduce uncertainty, and ultimately explore opportunities for increased recreational and commercial fishing opportunities.
Fishermen sometimes catch fish they do not want, cannot sell, or are not allowed to keep; a problem known as bycatch. This bycatch is discarded or released overboard. But how many of these fish survive?
NOAA Fisheries worked with outside experts to identify gaps in our understanding of how to estimate and reduce fish discard and release mortality. We created the Action Plan to fill these gaps.
The plan aims to:
Improve our estimates of fish discard and release mortality
Guide scientific research into release methods to reduce fish discard and release mortality.
Incorporate these improved estimates and release methods into our stock assessments and management actions.”
Bycatch remains a critical problem in commercial fisheries. Scientific studies like this are intended to address the issue of releasing bycatch, but there is also important work ongoing to develop and deploy technical solutions to prevent bycatch in the first place, particularly for many critical or endangered species, such as sea turtles and marine mammals.
To learn more:
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