Harbour porpoise and people: strategies for bycatch reduction in the Bay of Fundy

Richter, Christoph (1998) Harbour porpoise and people: strategies for bycatch reduction in the Bay of Fundy. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Interactions between marine mammals and fisheries are recognized as a global problem. About 1.000- 2.000 harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) are caught annually in groundfish gillnets in the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy. This bycatch is not sustainable and reduction of it is necessary. However, fishers fear that measures to mitigate the bycatch will have a detrimental economic impact on them. -- Solutions to the bycatch of marine mammals typically lead to restrictions on commercial fisheries. Managers, scientists and special-interest groups perceive fishers as part of the problem, and therefore, fishers are usually not consulted effectively in developing solutions. Consequently, fishers are reluctant to accept restrictions. Because of conflicting interests stakeholders refuse to communicate and distrust develops. -- Fishers from Grand Manan Island, Bay of Fundy, and researchers at the Whale Research Group, Memorial University of Newfoundland, developed a management approach that would allow all stakeholders to participate in finding solutions to the problem of harbor porpoise bycatch. This approach consisted of five steps: -- 1. Education and information; -- 2. Trust-building; -- 3. Implementing solutions; -- 4. Developing and testing solutions; and -- 5. Ensuring recognition. -- Gillnet fishers and scientists designed and carried out a study to assess the effectiveness of active acoustic devices ("alarms") in reducing harbour porpoise bycatch in 1994 and 1995. The objectives of the study were to develop and test a device that would -- 1. Eliminate or reduce the bycatch of harbour porpoise; -- 2. Be acceptable to all stakeholders; -- 3. Not interfere with the normal fishing process; -- 4. Not reduce catches of fish; and -- 5. Be enforceable by managers. -- Alarms reduced the bycatch of harbour porpoise. Catches of commercially important fish species did not differ consistently between treatments. T The study found that alarms were a suitable tool to reduce bycatch of harbour porpoise in groundfish gillnets without severely restricting fishing patterns. The inclusive management approach established stable and effective working relationships among fishers, scientists and managers, and will facilitate finding solutions for future problems.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/11340
Item ID: 11340
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 93-106.
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology
Date: 1998
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Bycatches (Fisheries)--Fundy, Bay of--Prevention; Harbor porpoise--Fundy, Bay of

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