Knowledge and research gaps to the implementation of best handling and release practices for vulnerable species (Paper + presentation)
Concerns about the incidental capture (i.e., bycatch ) of vulnerable marine species , including marine mammals, seabirds, sea turtles, and elasmobranchs, have resulted in increas ed efforts to develop conservation and management measures. These measures often require that no retention takes place and that the best handling and release practices (BHRP) are employed to reduce the impacts of fishing on these populations. However, developing safe and effective BHRP guidelines is often a complex and iterative process that involves understanding fishery characteristics, handling and discard methods, and post-release survival rates.
The IATTC is working towards creating a living document of BHRP guidelines for vulnerable species captured by various fishing gears across the convention area. However , several data gaps need to be addressed before this goal can be achieved. To help prioritize research efforts, this document reviews existing literature to identify knowledge and data gaps that impede BHRP development. Additionally, the current vulnerable species Resolutions are reviewed to identify where BHRP guidelines can be implemented into the regulations and where additional research is required. The IATTC staff provides recommendations for the next steps in the development of a BHRP manual.