Report of 2021 Meeting on collaborative activities for cetacean bycatch, IOTC-IWC
The Chair opened the meeting and explained the origins of the meeting, noting that over two years ago, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) Secretariat contacted the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) Secretariat to discuss the issue of cetacean bycatch in the region and possible strategies for bycatch mitigation in Indian Ocean fisheries. The IWC’s Bycatch Mitigation Initiative (BMI) held a workshop in 2019 dedicated to cetacean bycatch within the Indian Ocean region which brought together stakeholders from across the Indian Ocean region as well as experts on bycatch. Representatives from the IOTC Working Party on Ecosystems and Bycatch as well as IOTC member countries participated in the 2019 workshop. The IOTC and IWC went on to hold an initial group meeting in September 2020 as a continuation of these discussions to identify collaborative work areas between the two organisations, their member countries and experts working within the region. The report from that meeting was presented to the IOTC Working Party on Ecosystems and Bycatch (WPEB) but no recommendations were adopted by the WPEB. The WPEB did suggest, however, that discussions between the IOTC and IWC should continue intersessionally. As a result of that suggestion, this meeting was organised with the hope that possible recommendations to take to the next meeting of the WPEB in September 2021 could be formed and a plan could be developed for the priority collaborative activities of IOTC and IWC. The agenda was adopted without comment. The list of participants is in Annex 1 – List of Participants.