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The need for a broad perspective concerning fisheries interactions and bycatch of marine mammals

Molony, B.W., Wakefield, C.B., Newman, S.J., O'Donoghue, S., Joll, L. and Syers, C. (2015) The need for a broad perspective concerning fisheries interactions and bycatch of marine mammals. In: Kruse, G.H., An, H.C., DiCosimo, J., Eischens, C.A., Gislason, G.S., McBride, D.N., Rose, C.S. and Siddon, C.E., (eds.) Fisheries Bycatch: Global Issues and Creative Solutions: 29th Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium. Alaska Sea Grant, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, pp. 65-78.

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Fisheries bycatch is a worldwide issue. In many developed nations, including Australia, major research, development, management and fishery innovations have significantly reduced bycatch rates, interactions, and mortalities, and have reduced the risks and impacts imposed by fisheries. There is negligible risk to the sustainability of bycatch species from fisheries in many cases. However, societal perceptions of bycatch of marine mammals are such that the bycatch or mortality of a single individual can threaten the ongoing operations of an otherwise sustainable fishery. Developed nations now find themselves at a crossroads, whereby there is an ever-increasing demand for seafood while their fisheries and catches are more regulated and declining. This can result in either (1) the importing of more seafood from countries with little or no bycatch monitoring or mitigation plans and thus effectively exporting any bycatch issues; or (2) increasing production in other industries such as agriculture resulting in other environmental impacts and risks. Using Western Australia fishery examples, the paper identifies the need for a wider dissemination of information on the risks of fishing on marine mammal sustainability. Separating sustainability risks from social acceptability, collecting and collating all relevant information including the development of robust observer programs, and exploring costs and benefits of all options may provide a framework for informed public debate around managing marine mammal–fishery interactions.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Alaska Sea Grant, University of Alaska
Copyright: © Alaska Sea Grant, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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