UK Threats and Measures

Bycatch

The two main species affected by fishing in UK waters are the harbour porpoise and the shortbeaked common dolphin. All Reports to the European Commission on activities conducted by the UK under Regulation 812/2004, and under Article 12(4) of the Habitats Directive, provide details of the monitoring work undertaken and estimates of bycatch.

A dedicated monitoring scheme is operated by the SMRU, while collaborative links with the three fishery research laboratories in the UK also allow selected observations from the Discard Sampling Programmes to be included in our assessment of cetacean bycatch. The observer scheme relies upon good collaborative links with industry. Nevertheless fisheries regulations were enacted in England and Scotland to ensure that there is also a legal obligation for skippers and owners to take observers when asked to do so.

In June 2010, a Scottish Government project “Entanglement of minke whales in Scottish waters: an investigation into occurrence, causes and mitigation’ was published. The report can be found at the following link: www.smru.stand.ac.uk/documents/347.pdf

Implementation of methods to reduce bycatch

Work on mitigation continues to focus on the use of one specific type of acoustic deterrent device (DDD). These devices (DDD03F) are being used in the UK component (outside 12NM) of the midwater pair trawl fishery for bass in the Western English Channel with continued success. Avariant of the same device (DDD03H) has been adopted by the over 12m gill and tangle net fleet in the Western Channel and Celtic Sea. Observations on this fleet segment have shown the effectiveness of these devices in minimising porpoise bycatch by over 90% in nets of up to 4km in length, but the effect on common dolphins is not yet clear.

Research proposals

The UK was pleased to provide a voluntary contribution of £10,000 to the IWC small cetacean fund in 2011. The UK was also pleased to provide financial support contributing to the work of the IUCN’s (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel. We have also commissioned research into ‘The Contribution of Marine Protected Areas to Protecting Highly Mobile Species in English Waters’.

Through membership of the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS) the UK helped secure funding for 3 projects in 2011/12:

• Examination of habitat exclusion and long-term effects of pingers;

• Extension of the contract for the coordinator of the North Sea Plan for harbour porpoises for a further six months;

• Kaliningrad CPOD project submitted by Baltic Fund for Nature Results of these projects will be presented next year.

The UK will also host the seventh Meeting of Parties to ASCOBANS in October 2012.

Renewables

The Scottish Government let a contract to the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) in January 2012 to undertake strands of research in three key marine themes, including marine renewables. The focus of this work programme will include: mapping out the current marine research landscape with respect to marine mammals and marine renewables and identifying any data/research gaps, quantifying potential risks to marine mammals from marine renewable energy and identifying management and mitigation measures where appropriate building on ongoing work in this area. This research programme will complete in 2015.

Theme
Date Start
Status
Active
Summary/Text

The two main species affected by fishing in UK waters are the harbour porpoise and the shortbeaked common dolphin. All Reports to the European Commission on activities conducted by the UK under Regulation 812/2004, and under Article 12(4) of the Habitats Directive, provide details of the monitoring work undertaken and estimates of bycatch.

 

 

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http://ww2.defra.gov.uk/environment/marine/protect/species/cetaceans/
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https://wwhandbook.iwc.int/en/country-profiles/united-kingdom
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