PCA launched a research programme on sea birds and mammals by-catch in the Sea of Okhotsk mid-water trawl Pollock fishery
Pollock Catchers Association (PCA) and Kamchatka office of Pacific Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Science have launched a research programme on monitoring of interaction and occasional by-catch of sea mammals and birds in the mid-water trawl pollock fishery in the Sea of Okhotsk.
Scientific and research programme is being conducted according to the PCA's Action plan for the Sea of Okhotsk pollock fishery that was designed to meet the condition of the MSC certification obtained in 2013. «Better understanding of Sea of Okhotsk pollock fishery impact on sea birds and mammals is an important element of the large scale research work on ecosystem impact supported by the PCA. This programme is a part of PCA's commitment for further sustainability progress», - said PCA executive director Alexey Buglak.
Data collected during dedicated direct observation and obtained from commercial vessels will allow to analyze a character of interaction of marine birds and mammals, in particular, the Red Book Steller sea lion and Short-tailed albatross with vessels and fishing gear, as well as make estimations of their occasional mortality.
“Such kind of dedicated research is funded by the Russian fishermen for the first time and I hope this work will elucidate if Sea of Okhotsk mid-water trawl Pollock fishery has impact on marine mammals and birds or not. If there is any risk, we will learn which fishing gear, or types of fishing vessels, and what time and which areas of the Sea of Okhotsk such interactions occur, and how the trawl fishery impacts on the animals. One of the main objectives of the research is to develop recommendations for the fishery how to implement a marine mammal and bird by-catch monitoring program and calculate annual levels of injury and mortality the Steller sea lion and other marine mammals and birds in the trawl pollock fishery in the Sea of Okhotsk. This is especially important for the rare species listed in the Russian Red Book and IUCN endangered species list. This work is also very useful for implementation of several international treaties on animal conservation in Russia”, - said senior scientist in Kamchatka office of the Pacific Institute of Geography of Russian Academy of Science, expert in the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Ph. D. Vladimir Burkanov.
At the moment, two scientists from Kamchatka office of the Pacific Institute of Geography are working on vessels of Okeanrybflot JSC, and collecting and analyzing information on by-catch and interaction of sea birds and mammals. One more scientist is to be deployed to the fishery in the middle of February. Totally, the scientists will spend more than 220 vessel days for the programme in the Sea of Okhotsk pollock fishery.
Additionally, 25 PCA member vessels have got engaged into collection of extra data on sea birds and mammals interaction with the fishery according to the dedicated internal logbooks.
Any queries please contact: PCA Executive Director Alexey Buglak, firstname.lastname@example.org