A review of marine mammal, sea turtle and seabird bycatch in USA fisheries and the role of policy in shaping management
Published in Marine Policy, a leading journal of ocean policy studies.
This paper reviews the available information (observer programs, estimates, statutes, regulations) for bycatch of marine mammals, sea turtles, and seabirds in fisheries of the United States. Goals of the review were to evaluate the state of knowledge of bycatch and the role of existing protective legislation in shaping bycatch management for different taxa. Pressing issues are identified, as well as knowledge gaps and policy limitations that hinder multi-species bycatch reduction. The USA has made important progress toward reducing bycatch in its fisheries, but the efficacy of its management has been limited somewhat by a focus on taxon- and fishery-specific regulation and the lack of consistent mandate across taxa for taking acumulative perspective on bycatch. Applying consistent criteria across taxa for setting bycatch limits (e.g., extending the approach used for marine mammals to sea turtles and seabirds) would be the first step in a multi-species approach to bycatch reduction. A population-based multi-species multi-gear approach to bycatch would help identify priority areas where resources are needed most and can be used most effectively.
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Marine Policy Journal, Volume 33, Issue 3, May 2009, Pages 435-451.