Isabel Sousa PintoMafalda Correia
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas - CSIC
CetAMBICion: Coordinated Cetacean Assessment, Monitoring and Management Strategy in the Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coast sub-region
This project addresses the urgent need to reduce cetacean bycatch in EU fisheries, consistent with the requirements of the Habitats Directive Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Common Fisheries Policy (Technical Measures Regulation). In 2019, several NGOs requested that the European Commission introduce emergency fisheries measures to reduce bycatch of common dolphins in the Bay of Biscay and of harbour porpoises in the Baltic Sea. The Commission requested that The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea should evaluate these requests and provide advice on necessary actions. ICES issued this advice in earlier 2020, supported by work by two of its Working Groups (WGBYC and WGMME) and a Workshop (WKEMBYC). The full report of the latter has recently been published. ICES proposed a range of possible measures, and provided information on the expected reduction in bycatch arising from such measures. The Commission has subsequently request that France and Spain take action to address the cetacean bycatch issue in Bay of Biscay. An additional driver for reduction in bycatch of cetaceans is the request by the USA that all nations exporting fishery products to the USA should demonstrate that their management of cetacean bycatch is consistent with the requirements of the US Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The MSFD 2020 call provides an opportunity to propose work on measures to improve bycatch monitoring and mitigation in the Bay of Biscay and adjacent Iberian coastal waters, thus helping to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) in relation to Descriptor 1 (D1, Biodiversity) and, specifically, cetacean bycatch (criterion D1C1 and OSPAR common biodiversity indicator M-6). In so doing it will also consider criteria for abundance (D1C2), demographic characteristics (D1C3), distribution pattern and range (D1C4) and habitat (D1C5).
The CetAMBICion project, has been validated by the European Commission and will start in March 2021. It will last 2 years (2021-2022). The project involves 15 partners from the Member States (MS) France, Spain and Portugal, including Ministries as well as public research and conservation bodies, in collaboration with professionals and NGOs.