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Collaboration at the heart of the first Bycatch Mitigation Initiative workshop

The first workshop of the IWC Bycatch Mitigation Initiative (BMI) takes place in Kenya this week. 

Bycatch and entanglement in fishing gear is now believed to be the single biggest threat to cetaceans, killing more than 300,000 each year.  The BMI concept was endorsed by the Commission in 2016.  Its overall aims are to raise awareness of the need for action on cetacean bycatch, and to promote the use of effective tools to understand and tackle the issue.  Collaboration is central to the work of the BMI which has built a multi-disciplinary expert panel and recruited a Co-ordinator, and works closely with other international frameworks and organisations involved in fisheries management.

This week’s workshop will enable the BMI Expert Panel to meet in person and consolidate their work plans.  It will also provide an opportunity to engage with local and regional stakeholders.  The Western and Northern Indian Ocean is one of the priority areas for bycatch mitigation work, and the involvement of local experts and fishermen will help to map out data gaps and identify potential bycatch hot spots. 

The workshop also aims to identify potential locations for pilot projects to test experimental approaches to reducing bycatch, such as setting nets lower in the water column, as well as existing measures such as pinger trials and time-area closures.  There will also be discussion on incentivising measures, such as linking fishing communities working to address bycatch with high-end restaurants that seek sustainably sourced seafood.

The two-day workshop takes place 8-9 May in Nairobi, Kenya.

For more information on bycatch please click here.