Review of the statistical data available for IOTC bycatch species
Purpose: To provide participants in the Assessment meeting of the 18th Session of the IOTC Working Party on Ecosystems and Bycatch (WPEB18) with a review of the status of the information available on non-targeted, associated, and dependent species of IOTC fisheries (“bycatch”) defined by the IOTC Scientific Committee as: “All species, other than the 16 species listed in Annex B of the IOTC Agreement, caught or interacted with by fisheries for tuna and tuna-like species in the IOTC area of competence. A bycatch species includes those non-IOTC species which are (a) retained (byproduct), (b) incidentally taken in a fishery and returned to the sea (discarded); or (c) incidentally affected by interacting with fishing equipment in the fishery, but not taken.” The document summarises the current information received for species or species groups other than the 16 IOTC species listed in the IOTC Agreement, in accordance with relevant Resolutions adopted by the Commission. It provides an overview of the data available in the IOTC Secretariat databases as of August 2022 for sharks, rays, seabirds, marine turtles, cetaceans, and other bycatch species. The document describes the progress achieved in relation to the collection and verification of data, identifies problem areas and proposes actions that could be undertaken to improve them.