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Common Oceans - A partnership for sustainability in the ABNJ

Understanding and improving seabird bycatch data analyses - Two Regional Seabird Bycatch Pre-Assessment Workshops in spring 2017

9 May 2017

Interactions with pelagic longline fisheries are a major cause of mortality for some populations of seabirds. To address this issue, all five tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) require use of one or more bycatch mitigation measures in high risk areas. However, data on total seabird mortality and effectiveness of the seabird bycatch mitigation measures in place are limited. In March and April, BirdLife South Africa, one of the partners of the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project, organized two regional seabird bycatch pre-assessment workshops with the aim to enhance collective understanding of the options available and challenges in analyzing seabird bycatch data, and collaborative steps to take in future to get a handle on global seabird bycatch estimates.

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Presentation by Dr. Ross Wanless from BirdLife South Africa

The first workshop, 23-28 February, took place in Skukuza in Kruger National Park, South Africa, covering International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) areas, as well as the overlapping Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna area. This five-day workshop was attended by participants from Japan, Uruguay, Taiwan Province of China , South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Brazil and Seychelles, as well as by representatives from the Secretariats of IOTC and ICCAT. The second five-day workshop, 2-7 April, took place in Hoi An, Vietnam, and focused on the IOTC, Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and ICCAT areas of the Southern Ocean. Participants from Japan, China, Taiwan Province of China , Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa,   and representatives from the Secretariats of the Pacific Community and IOTC attended this workshop. Joining both workshops was a representative from the Agreement on Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels and team members from the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project, providing context and additional information on seabird mitigation measures in tuna longline fisheries.

Rishi Sharma from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Joel Rice, an independent consultant, facilitated the events in collaboration with BirdLife South Africa coordinators. The workshop agendas were organized around the objective to create mutual support for national scientists working with seabird bycatch data, enable them to share experiences related to seabird data collection and talk about potential solutions on how to improve data quality. In addition, mechanisms for global seabird bycatch assessments and ideas for future collaboration were discussed as a final note during both workshops.

Bringing national scientists together for joint collaborative assessments of the effectiveness of relevant Conservation and Management Measures will ultimately contribute to protect biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) in the future.

Report of the two workshops is available here.

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Presentation by Dr. Ross Wanless from
BirdLife South Africa
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Group photo of workshop participants in
Kruger Park, South Africa
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Group photo of workshop participants in
Hoi An, Vietnam


The Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project is funded by the Global Environment Facility with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as the implementing agency. This Project harnesses the efforts of a large and diverse array of partners, including the five tuna tuna-RFMOs, governments, inter-governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and private sector. The Project aims to achieve responsible, efficient and sustainable tuna production and biodiversity conservation in the ABNJ.

Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Common Oceans ABNJ
BirdLife South Africa

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