Responsible Fishing Practices for Sustainable Fisheries

Technical Guidelines to Reduce Marine Mammal Bycatch in Capture Fisheries

©FAO/Haraldur Einarsson

During the thirty-second and thirty-third Sessions of the Committee of Fisheries (COFI), in 2016 and 2018, FAO was requested to develop technical guidelines to reduce marine mammal bycatch in capture fisheries.

In response to this request from COFI, FAO prepared and published Technical Guidelines to Prevent and Reduce Bycatch of Marine Mammals in Capture Fisheries with extensive inputs from relevant experts and Member States received through the convening of an expert meeting, held 17-19 September 2019. 

Increasing numbers of international agreements and conventions exist which commit governments to reducing and mitigating this kind of mortality caused by fishing operations. 

Many guidelines and codes of practice regarding marine mammal protection are national in scope and/or involve local level instruments. National governments are responsible for managing most of the world’s fisheries, therefore their policy, management and legislative instruments are among the most important for directly implementing measures to reduce the bycatch of marine mammals. 

For a list of these agreements and conventions at international, regional and examples of those at national level please refer to the Report of the Expert Meeting to Develop Technical Guidelines to Reduce Bycatch of Marine Mammals in Capture Fisheries (September 2019).