NOAA Fisheries Plans to Improve Bycatch Survivability

Written by on February 26, 2016 in Policy & Ocean Law

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.

Bycatch in shrimp fisheries. Photo credit: NOAA.

Bycatch in shrimp fisheries. Photo credit: NOAA.

To learn more:

Copyright © 2016 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Tom Tripp is the owner of OceanLines Ltd., the publisher of OceanLines and founder and Editor Emeritus of Marine Science Today. He is an award-winning marine journalist, science and aviation writer and long-time public communications specialist. His PR career and much of his writing stems from the fact that he loves to explain stuff. It all began when he and his brother Mark threw all of Mom's tomatoes at the back wall of the house. . . .


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