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Marine Mammal Bycatch on the agenda at United Nations'
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)

The IWC welcomed the opportunity to attend the FAO's Committee on Fisheries (COFI) meeting, held in Rome this week. Discussions included marine mammal bycatch and the need for best practice for prevention and management. It was agreed by the Committee that the FAO should proceed with developing best practice technical guidelines on how to mitigate marine mammal bycatch.

Bycatch- the accidental capture and entanglement of whales, dolphins and other species groups such as seabirds, turtles and sharks is recognized as a major conservation and welfare issue. An estimated 300,000 cetaceans are caught each year around the world. In addition to the significant impact of active fishing gear, ‘ghost fishing’- abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear- also poses a bycatch risk to cetaceans, turtles and other marine life.

In order to raise the profile of this issue at COFI a side-event was hosted by FAO Member States in collaboration with the FAO, the International Whaling Commission, World Wildlife Fund, the Convention on Migratory Species and World Animal Protection. The event highlighted sustainable fisheries management solutions for ghost gear and bycatch, focusing on the need and methods for data collection, available solutions and the role of FAO, Member States and other international bodies in coordinating global action.

 The entire session (1hr 40 mins) is view-able as a video on this link:  


Please click here for informative presentations about FAO's work on bycatch, the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI - starting at 15 minutes);   The IWC Bycatch Mitigation Initiative (starting at 37 minutes); and  WWF's global approach to bycatch mitigation (programme - starting at 44:30).