A need for improved reporting on seabird bycatch in IOTC longline fisheries
The National Reports produced by CPCs between 2011 and 2014 were reviewed to determine if the reporting requirements by CPCs reflect the objectives of relevant resolutions. Resolution 10/06 is the relevant resolution against which CPCs reported; this was superseded in 2012 by Resolution 12/06, but mandatory implementation of 12/06 only came into force on 1 July 2014. Specifically we tested if National Reports allow the assessment of seabird bycatch levels. CPCs were generally compliant, with compliance in reporting improving between 2011 and 2014, with the exception of three CPCs that had very poor reporting for seabird interactions. The lack of a structured reporting format resulted in information provided by CPCs being non-standardised, the effect of which is that the objectives of Resolution 12/06 are met inadequately. We propose an approach based on that currently used within the CCSBT, where CPCs are required to report on fishing effort, observer coverage, and seabird bycatch and interactions south of 25°S in their national reports. With minor modifications to the current bycatch data table required by the IOTC and the addition of some information on mitigation measures used by vessels operating south of 25°S, the objectives of Resolution 12/06 would be met and IOTC’s reporting would be harmonised with that of the CCSBT.