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    Coordinating approaches to incidental mortality arising from fisheries

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    A.J. Constable, C. Davies, A.T. Williamson, R. Williams and E. van Wijk (Australia)
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    Globally, by-catch is recognised as one of the most significant issues affecting fisheries management. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (the Commission) has adopted an ecosystem approach to managing fisheries which takes into account the direct and indirect impacts of harvesting on non-target taxa. There are many approaches to reduce by-catch. Current approaches to managing by-catch focus on by-catch avoidance and mitigation measures, setting of precautionary catch limits and encouraging research programs that focus on non-target taxa.
    Through summarising current approaches to by-catch management and activities across non-target taxa and examining the range of protection afforded to by-catch taxa (seabirds, marine mammals, elasmobranchs, bony fish and benthic invertebrates) it became evident that the application of these approaches is not consistent across by-catch taxa. CCAMLR has developed a comprehensive system for mitigation of seabird incidental mortality, but equivalent measures are not as well developed or implemented for bony fish, benthic invertebrates, and particularly the elasmobranch populations that are particularly vulnerable to harvesting as they have low fecundity, potentially greater longevity and slow growth rates.
    Within CCAMLR, the impetus for action and application of approaches to minimise by-catch needs to be consistent where possible across non-target taxa. A consistent, integrated approach to by-catch could assist the development of measures for vulnerable species such as skates and rays and some fish species. Such an approach would identify and prioritise the areas that need to be addressed based on a preliminary evaluation of risks. This would facilitate agreement on a program of work. Such an approach could provide the basis for a comprehensive and integrated approach to managing by-catch issues in CCAMLR.