TCC Draft Report and Information Paper on the Voluntary Small Working Group on Seabird Bycatch Mitigation
At its Second Regular Session in December 2005, the WCPFC agreed that the Scientific Committee (SC), in consultation with the Technical and Compliance Committee (TCC) should:
- investigate seabird mitigation measures applied and being tested by other RFMOs, particularly those of the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources;
- investigate the utility of implementing compatible measures; and
- recommend specific seabird mitigation measures for consideration at the Third Regular Session of the Commission.
At its Second Regular Session in August 2006 (SC2), the SC developed a series of recommendations for the WCPFC in this regard. Included in these recommendations was a table of mitigation measures that have been applied in other RFMOs (Table 1, para. 169 of the Summary Report of SC2). The SC recommended that CCMs should require their longline fishing vessels to use at least two measures from the table, including at least one from column A. In addition, the SC2 recommended that thawed bait should be compulsory. The SC2 recommendations only apply to longline fishing vessels fishing either south of 300 South or north of 230 North. The SC2 recommendation notes that technical specifications (definitions) for each of the measures in the table would need to be developed.
At its Second Regular Session in September 2006, the Northern Committee (NC2) suggested to the Commission that it request the International Scientific Committee (ISC) and the SC work jointly to follow up the SC2 recommendation and, where necessary, compile or develop detailed definitions and specifications for each of the seabird bycatch mitigation methods included in Table 1 of the SC2 main report. It also requested that the results of this joint ISC-SC work be provided to the Third Session of the NC in 2007.
At its Second Regular Session in October 2006, the Technical and Compliance Committee (TCC2) was unable to make significant progress on this matter. This was partially due to the limited time available and partially due to the outcome from NC2.
Noting the inability to recommend technical specifications for the measures identified by the SC, a voluntary working group was called by the TCC. The purpose of the small working group was for any interested CCMs to consider the technical specifications of the mitigation measures recommended by the SC, including contributing to the collation of technical specifications for seabird mitigation devices currently employed in longline fisheries in which vessels flying their flag are active.
The information collated by the small working group is intended to support the deliberations of WCPFC to consider specific seabird mitigation measures at its Third Regular Session in December 2006.