EU awards Cetacean Bycatch Observer Project contract
27th January 2004
Lymington based, MacAlister Elliott and Partners Ltd (MEP), announced in a news release earlier today that the fisheries consultancy firm, have been commissioned by the European Union to manage a cetacean bycatch observer project.
The 18 month study, due for completion in July 2005, will operate an observer program covering approximately 5% of the fishing effort in selected target fisheries, and will estimate the magnitude of whale, dolphin and porpoise bycatch in pelagic trawl fisheries of the Celtic Sea, Bay of Biscay and adjacent areas on a fishery-by-fishery basis.
It is understood that the collation of cetacean sightings information at sea will be used to improve knowledge and understanding of cetacean population distribution and density in the selected fisheries. Project data will be used to estimate the number of cetaceans caught in pelagic fishing nets in the Northeast Atlantic.
The European Cetacean Bycatch Campaign welcomes the introduction of an EU based observer project, albeit limited to one fishing method, as a “starting point”.
Marine environmental organisations continue to lobby for a higher level of observer cover in order to more accurately gauge the longer-term ecological impact of fishing methods used.