We are seeking your input on the development of an online “Bycatch Information Exchange” intended to share information about strategies for fisheries bycatch mitigation and avoidance.

The New England Aquarium is collaborating with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) on this scoping study. The MSC recently released a new fisheries standard, which requires in assessment or certified fisheries to consider options for minimising mortality of unwanted catches, and to implement such measures if they are more effective at minimising this mortality, comparable to existing measures in terms of effect on target species catch and impacts on vessel and crew safety, do not negatively impact on other species or habitats, and not cost prohibitive. For this purpose, an information exchange that compiles the best available information on bycatch mitigation and avoidance could be a critical resource for MSC fisheries, certifiers and others with a vested interest in the MSC process.

The potential value for an online bycatch information exchange extends well beyond the MSC. It could be accessed by a range of different users, including fishers, fisheries managers, researchers, funders, Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) providers, environmental Non-Governmental Organisations and/or those interested in bycatch mitigation and avoidance more generally. We envisage that the BIE will provide an interactive web-based platform that includes a searchable database of bycatch mitigation and avoidance measures and techniques, with associated summary information, contacts, links to any papers or reports, and possibly reviews. This could build on the existing bycatch information sources, including the Consortium of Wildlife Bycatch Reduction’s bycatch database (http://www.bycatch.org), extending it to include a wider range of species, and providing additional functions. For example, the Bycatch Information Exchange could offer a platform for exchanging ideas about bycatch mitigation and avoidance strategies in different fisheries around the world. This may also include links to funders, research programmes and opportunities and other bycatch-related resources.

By completing this survey, you are helping to shape the development and potential uses of the Bycatch Information Exchange. We greatly appreciate your insight and perspectives. All information you provide will be kept confidential and will not be used for any other purpose.

The survey should take around 10-15 minutes to complete. Thank you very much for your time.

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