A requirement for all wild-capture commercial fishers to report any incidental bycatch of marine mammals during fishing operations will be incorporated into licence conditions from 30 November.

The announcement of the new measure explains that DEFRA and the devolved administrations consider the bycatch of whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals in fisheries to be a key issue for their conservation and welfare.

The data collected will be used by the UK bycatch monitoring programme to help identify, and where possible reduce, fisheries interactions. This requirement aligns with a broader programme of work to meet the Fisheries Act’s ecosystem objective to ensure that ‘incidental catches of sensitive species are minimised and, where possible, eliminated’.

The new reporting requirement is also necessary to enable the UK to continue exporting wild-capture seafood to the US from 1 January, 2023, when provisions in the US Marine Mammal Protection Act come into force.

From 30 November, fishers will need to report any bycatch of marine mammals to the MMO within 48 hours of the end of a trip.

This can be done by completing the template at: bit.ly/31L7IHP and sending it to: statistics@ marinemanagement.org. uk or: MMO Statistics, Lancaster House, Hampshire Court, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 7YH.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.

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