Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Calling all fishermen - Cefas and the Dolphin By-catch Workshop needs your help!

"We're very excited by the possibility of forging new solutions to the issue of cetacean by-catch here in the UK. No fisherman wants to capture a dolphin or a porpoise, and we believe there may be as-yet undiscovered or un-tested ways to significantly reduce the chances of this happening - as well as lots we can do to improve the existing options. It's vital that we have the industry at the centre of this workshop: we want to understand the issues directly from their perspective, and make sure the solutions we find are genuinely practical. I'd ask any fisherman who has encountered a problem with cetacean by-catch, or has ideas to bring to this discussion, to get in touch and come along - your input is vital." - Stuart Hetherington, Senior Marine Biologist, CEFAS

Cefas, ZSL and Defra are delighted to be hosting a unique, collaborative workshop focused on the issue of cetacean bycatch in UK fisheries. Our aim is to examine existing practices, UK-wide, for cetacean monitoring and bycatch reduction, explore new ideas, and bring together voices from a wide range of stakeholders to identify concrete actions for the future.
Tuesday 12th to Wednesday 13th March 2019 | Zoological Society of London

All fishermen enjoy the spectacle of dolphins and porpoises swimming alongside or in the bow wave of their boats. The video above was shot aboard the Newlyn netter, Ajax while steaming to a set of nets. No dolphins were caught in her nets that trip.

Much has been achieved by fishermen, especially those working gill nets, to deter dolphins and porpoises from getting caught in fishing gear. This workshop would love to hear from any fisherman or skipper who feels they have something to offer by way of information, ideas, or thoughts on the subject.  

The two day worksop is looking to bring together fishermen, scientists, engineers, policy makers and NGO’s from around the world. Fishermen are the ones with the widest and best experience of by-catches and best placed to help work towards the best means of preventing such by-catches. If you have any thoughts or ideas, large or small, please make them known by email so that they can be included in the workshops - first hand evidence will help push the ability to keep reducing by-catches to a minimum in the future.

Better still, if you feel willing and able to join the event there is funding and accommodation available!

The workshops will share existing knowledge and experience of how reducing by-catches and monitoring across a range of marine species has been successful worldwide and how that could be further applied to bycatches in the UK, by:
  • Reviewing levels of cetacean bycatch in UK fisheries and methods for monitoring these;
  • Exploring examples of bycatch reduction in other species of fish and investigate whether these can be adapted for cetaceans;
  • Identifying innovative solutions to reduce cetacean bycatch and assessing whether they are practical for UK fishing fleets;
  • Envisioning the future for reducing cetacean by-catch and identify areas for further research in the UK.
Through a series of presentations, debate, and plenary discussion, the workshop will be divided into multiple sessions, including gear modifications, new technologies, real-time reporting, spatial management, industry-led research, and more.

Team Involved

  • Catherine Bell, Senior Policy Advisor, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
  • Stuart Hetherington - Senior Marine Biologist, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science 
  • Rob Deaville - Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) Project Manager, Zoological Society of London
  • Joanna Barker -  Marine and Freshwater Conservation Programme Project Manager, Zoological Society of London
  • Milly Oakley - Event Manager, Zoological Society of London
  • Katrina Ryan - Director, Mindfully Wired Communications
  • Charlotte Tindall - Communications Consultant

You can download the agenda for the event here: https://www.cefas.co.uk/cetacean-bycatch-workshop/