Overview of mitigation measures to reduce the incidental catch of vulnerable species in fisheries
Potentially harmful contact between fisheries and marine vulnerable species represents a global conservation issue and efforts to mitigate the negative repercussions of these interactions belong in strategies for ensuring the sustainability of fisheries. This literature review offers a survey of mitigation measures and techniques that have been developed and tested around the world, aiming to address both the incidental catch of highly mobile species – specifically, cetaceans, seabirds, sharks and rays, and sea turtles – and depredation caused by dolphins. Based on research detailed in over 300 documents, including peer-reviewed publications, reports from international organizations and papers available on the internet, most of the mitigation techniques illustrated are still under development, with only a few already adopted through legislation. The selected mitigation measures are grouped by main types of fishing gear – gillnets and trammel nets, longlines and lines, trawls, purse seines, traps and pots – and further subdivided according to which of the four main groups of vulnerable species – cetaceans, seabirds, sharks and rays, or sea turtles – they are designed to protect. Preventive and curative approaches covering both technical measures (gear modifications, strategies, as well as acoustic, visual, magnetic and chemosensory deterrents) and management measures are described.