Abstract and Figures

Bycatch can harm marine ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, lead to injury or mortality of protected species, and have severe economic implications for fisheries. On 12 January 2007, President George W. Bush signed the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006 (MSRA). The MSRA required the U.S. Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to establish a Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program (BREP) to develop technological devices and other conservation engineering changes designed to minimize bycatch, seabird interactions, bycatch mortality, and post-release mortality in Federally managed fisheries. The MSRA also required the Secretary to identify nations whose vessels are engaged in the bycatch of protected living marine resources (PLMR’s) under specified circumstances and to certify that these nations have 1) adopted regulatory programs for PLMR’s that are comparable to U.S. programs, taking into account different conditions, and 2) established management plans for PLMR’s that assist in the collection of data to support assessments and conservation of these resources. If a nation fails to take sufficient corrective action and does not receive a positive certification, fishing products from that country may be subject to import prohibitions into the United States. The BREP has made significant progress to develop technological devices and other conservation engineering designed to minimize bycatch, including improvements to bycatch reduction devices and turtle excluder devices in Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico trawl fisheries, gillnets in Northeast fisheries, and trawls in Alaska and Pacific Northwest fisheries. In addition, the international provisions of the MSRA have provided an innovative tool through which the United States can address bycatch by foreign nations. However, the inability of the National Marine Fisheries Service to identify nations whose vessels are engaged in the bycatch of PLMR’s to date will require the development of additional approaches to meet this mandate.
Content may be subject to copyright.
74(2) 1
Introduction
The United Nations Food and Agri-
culture Organization (FAO) estimates
that in recent years the world’s sheries
annually discarded 7.3 million metric
tons of marine life (Kelleher, 2005).
This statistic accounts for just a portion
of the marine life incidentally caught or
harmed by shing gear (i.e., bycatch),
because some of these organisms are
kept for consumption or sale, or are
not brought on board shing vessels
after encountering gear. Without proper
measures in place to address bycatch,
Bycatch Provisions in the
Reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act
LEE R. BENAKA, LAURA F. CIMO, and LEKELIA D. JENKINS
Lee R. Benaka is the National Coordinator of the
Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program in the
Ofce of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine
Fisheries Service, NOAA, 1315 East–West
Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Laura F.
Cimo is with the Ofce of International Affairs,
National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, 1315
East–West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
Lekelia D. Jenkins is with the School of
Marine and Environmental Affairs, University of
Washington, 3707 Brooklyn Avenue NE, Seattle,
WA 98105-6715. Corresponding author is Lee R.
Benaka (Lee.Benaka@noaa.gov).
ABSTRACT—Bycatch can harm ma r-
ine ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, lead
to injury or mortality of protected spe-
cies, and have severe economic implica-
tions for sheries. On 12 January 2007,
President George W. Bush signed the
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation
and Management Reauthorization Act of
2006 (MSRA). The MSRA required the
U.S. Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to
establish a Bycatch Reduction Engineering
Program (BREP) to develop technological
devices and other conservation engineer-
ing changes designed to minimize bycatch,
seabird interactions, bycatch mortality, and
post-release mortality in Federally man-
aged sheries. The MSRA also required the
Secretary to identify nations whose vessels
are engaged in the bycatch of protected
living marine resources (PLMR’s) under
specied circumstances and to certify that
these nations have 1) adopted regulatory
programs for PLMR’s that are compara-
ble to U.S. programs, taking into account
different conditions, and 2) established
management plans for PLMR’s that assist
in the collection of data to support assess-
ments and conservation of these resources.
If a nation fails to take sufcient correc-
tive action and does not receive a positive
certication, shing products from that
country may be subject to import prohibi-
tions into the United States. The BREP has
made signicant progress to develop tech-
nological devices and other conservation
engineering designed to minimize bycatch,
including improvements to bycatch reduc-
tion devices and turtle excluder devices in
Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico trawl sheries,
gillnets in Northeast sheries, and trawls
in Alaska and Pacic Northwest sheries.
In addition, the international provisions
of the MSRA have provided an innovative
tool through which the United States can
address bycatch by foreign nations. How-
ever, the inability of the National Marine
Fisheries Service to identify nations whose
vessels are engaged in the bycatch of
PLMR’s to date will require the develop-
ment of additional approaches to meet this
mandate.
shing can harm marine ecosystems,
reduce biodiversity, and lead to injury or
mortality of protected species. Bycatch
also can have severe economic impli-
cations for sheries due to foregone
shery revenue associated with discards,
damage to shing gear, and increased
sorting time on deck.
One example of potential foregone
shery revenue associated with discards
is the Bering Sea pollock, Theragra
chalcogramma, fishery, which faces
hard caps on Chinook salmon, On-
corhynchus tshawytscha, as a result of
the nal rule to implement Amendment
91 to the Fishery Management Plan
for Groundsh of the Bering Sea and
Aleutian Islands Management Area,
which published in the Federal Regis-
ter on 30 August 2010 (NOAA, 2010).
Economic analyses in Amendment 91
indicate that total potentially foregone
pollock wholesale gross revenue could
be as much as $453 million if high
levels of Chinook salmon bycatch occur
in the shery in a given year (NMFS,
2009a). Such potential losses in shing
revenues, along with the serious biologi-
cal impacts of bycatch, make bycatch a
central challenge to address in U.S. and
international sheries.
Since the creation of shing nets and
shing hooks there has been bycatch in
sheries, but efforts to reduce bycatch
are relatively recent. Records of selec-
tive shing practices date back several
centuries, but the science of shing se-
lectively did not begin until the end
of the 19th century. This initial work
focused on selecting large sizes of com-
mercial sh by adjusting the shape and
size of meshes and placing grids into the
codends of trawls (Chopin et al., 1996;
Prado, 1997). Later research sought to
address the issue of separating species
in multispecies sheries. Rising public
interest in charismatic species during
the 1960’s led to the development of
capture prevention and escape technol-
ogy for marine mammals, sea turtles,
and seabirds beginning in the 1970’s
(Coe, 1984). Most recently, researchers
2 Marine Fisheries Review
are examining the survival of organ-
isms after interactions with gear (Prado,
1997; Wilde, 2009).
The bycatch of fishery resources,
marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds,
and other living marine resources
has become a central concern of the
commercial and recreational fishing
industries, resource managers, conser-
vation organizations, scientists, and the
public—both nationally and globally.
Recognizing the negative impact of this
problem, the international community
has called for bycatch levels to be re-
duced in agreements such as the United
Nations Fish Stocks Agreement in
1995 and several measures in Regional
Fisheries Management Organizations
(RFMO’s).
For example, the Code of Conduct for
Responsible Fisheries (FAO, 1995) is an
international agreement that advocates
the reduction of discards and bycatch.
Article 8, paragraph 8.5.1, declares,
“States should require that shing gear,
methods and practices, to the extent
practicable, are sufciently selective so
as to minimise waste, discards, catch of
nontarget species…impacts on associ-
ated or dependent species…” In addi-
tion, Article 7.6.9 asserts, “States should
take appropriate measures to minimise
waste, discards, catch by lost or aban-
doned gear, catch of nontarget species,
both sh and nonsh species, and nega-
tive impacts on associated or dependent
species, in particular endangered species
. . . States and sub-regional or regional
sheries management organisations or
arrangements should promote, to the
extent practicable, the development and
use of selective and environmentally
safe gear and techniques.”
Several RFMO’s have adopted mea-
sures to reduce sea turtle bycatch with
support from the United States. For ex-
ample, at its 75th meeting in June 2007,
the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Com-
mission adopted a resolution to mitigate
the impact of tuna shing on sea turtles.
The resolution called on the contracting
parties, cooperating nonparties, shing
entities, and regional economic integra-
tion organizations to implement the FAO
guidelines to reduce the bycatch, injury,
and mortality of sea turtles in shing op-
erations and to ensure the safe handling
of all captured sea turtles.
In addition, the Western and Central
Pacific Fisheries Commission ad-
opted a conservation and management
measure in December 2008 requiring
commission members, cooperating
nonmembers, and participating Terri-
tories (CCM’s) to implement the FAO
guidelines as appropriate, ensure safe
handling of all captured sea turtles to
improve survival, report on sea turtle
interactions, use proper mitigation
techniques, and utilize safe handling and
release equipment, among other things
(CMM 2008-03).
Most recently, the International
Commission for the Conservation of
Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) adopted a
measure in November 2010 requiring
each contracting party, cooperating
noncontracting party, entity, or shing
entity to collect and annually report to
ICCAT information on the interactions
of its eet with sea turtles in ICCAT
sheries. The United States often has
played a leadership role toward ad-
vancing bycatch reduction measures in
international fora.
In addition, the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations in
January 2011 released the rst global
guidelines for bycatch management and
the reduction of shing discards. The
guidelines covered bycatch management
planning, improvement of shing gear,
fisheries closures, economic incen-
tives for adoption of bycatch-reduction
measures, monitoring, research and
development, and capacity-building
for developing states to facilitate their
ability to follow the guidelines.
The United States was also one of
the rst nations to address domestic
bycatch. During the past 37 years,
the National Marine Fisheries Service
(NMFS); its predecessor, the Bureau
of Commercial Fisheries; and (after
1976) the regional shery management
councils (hereafter the Councils) have
responded to this concern by taking
a variety of actions. The actions have
included research to develop better
methods for monitoring and reducing
bycatch, outreach programs to explain
the bycatch problem and search for solu-
tions, and regulatory actions to monitor
and decrease bycatch.
Many of NMFS’ efforts grew from
Congressional mandates to address
bycatch, especially the Marine Mammal
Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972, the
Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973,
and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery
Conservation and Management Act
(MSA) of 1976. The MSA restricted
the denition of bycatch to mean “sh
which are harvested in a shery, but
which are not sold or kept for personal
use, and includes economic discards
and regulatory discards. Such term does
not include sh released alive under a
recreational catch and release shery
management program.”
Since the original passage of the
MSA, Congress has twice passed major
amendments to this statute. In 1996,
Congress amended the Act with the Sus-
tainable Fisheries Act (SFA). Among
other things, the SFA added three new
National Standards, one of which spe-
cically addresses bycatch. National
Standard 9 states that “Conservation
and management measures shall, to the
extent practicable, A) minimize bycatch
and B) to the extent bycatch cannot be
avoided, minimize the mortality of such
bycatch.” In 1998, NMFS developed
a Bycatch Plan that reviewed existing
bycatch activities, developed national
bycatch objectives, and made recom-
mendations for how to achieve these
objectives (NMFS, 1998). In 2003,
NMFS assessed its progress toward
achieving the objectives specied in
the Bycatch Plan. The assessment was
part of the National Bycatch Strategy,
which detailed ve additional compo-
nents for reducing bycatch, including
international approaches (Benaka and
Dobrzynski, 2004).
Also included in the 1996 amend-
ments to the MSA was a requirement
that the U.S. Government work toward
securing agreements with other coun-
tries to promote bycatch reduction
technologies and techniques that are
comparable to those found in the United
States. This amendment, found in Sec-
tion 202(h)(l) of the MSA, promoted a
consistent policy in addressing bycatch,
as similar provisions are contained in
74(2) 3
Table 1.—Differences in the concept of bycatch between the domestic and international sections of the MSRA.
Considered bycatch Considered bycatch
Category of resource in domestic in international
or activity sections of MSRA? sections of MSRA?
Managed sh Yes No (except sharks)
Nontarget sh Yes Yes
Economic and regulatory discards Yes Yes
Fish released in catch and release programs No No
Mortality to marine resources caused by derelict shing gear No No
Sea turtles Yes Yes
Marine mammals No Yes
Seabirds No No
Practices other than shing No Yes
both the MMPA and ESA. To fulll
this new requirement, NMFS convened
an International Bycatch Reduction
Task Force (Task Force). The Task
Force developed a Plan of Action that
implements a strategy to promote in-
ternational agreements that reduce sea
turtle bycatch in foreign longline sher-
ies. The Plan of Action also promotes
the implementation of the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations (FAO) International Plan of
Action (IPOA) for Reducing Incidental
Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries
and the FAO IPOA for the Conservation
and Management of Sharks.
On 12 January 2007, President
George W. Bush signed the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and
Management Reauthorization Act of
2006 (MSRA). Among the amend-
ments to the MSA were requirements
to build on and improve current bycatch
reduction efforts through establish-
ment of a new program and processes.
Specically, Section 316 of the MSRA
required the Secretary of Commerce, in
cooperation with the Councils and other
affected interests, and based upon the
best scientic information available, to
establish a Bycatch Reduction Engineer-
ing Program (BREP), including grants,
to develop technological devices and
other conservation engineering changes
designed to minimize bycatch, seabird
interactions, bycatch mortality, and post-
release mortality in Federally managed
sheries.
Also, Section 403 of the MSRA
requires the Secretary to identify na-
tions whose vessels are engaged in
the bycatch of protected living marine
resources (PLMR’s) under specified
circumstances and to certify that these
nations have 1) adopted regulatory pro-
grams for PLMR’s that are comparable
to U.S. programs, taking into account
different conditions, and 2) established
management plans for PLMR’s. If a
nation fails to take sufcient corrective
action and does not receive a positive
certication, shing products from that
country may be subject to import prohi-
bitions into the United States.
Importantly, the scope of Section
403 is quite broad. Section 403 denes
PLMR’s as “1) nontarget fish, sea
turtles, or marine mammals that are
protected under U.S. law or interna-
tional agreement, including the Marine
Mammal Protection Act, the Endan-
gered Species Act, the Shark Finning
Prohibition Act, and the Convention on
the International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, but 2)
does not include species, except sharks,
managed under the Magnuson-Stevens
Fishery Conservation and Management
Act, the Atlantic Tunas Convention
Act, or any international shery man-
agement agreement.” The current draft
list of PLMR’s contains many species
of marine mammals, sharks, coral, eel,
and sea turtles. Table 1 contrasts the
concept of bycatch as dened in the
domestic and international sections of
the MSRA.
In January 2009, NMFS issued the
rst annual Report to Congress on its
implementation of Section 316 of the
reauthorized MSA and development of
the BREP (NMFS, 2009b). In January
2009 and subsequently in January 2011,
NMFS issued its rst two biennial Re-
ports to Congress on implementation of
Section 403, which included detailed in-
formation on NOAA’s efforts to address
bycatch globally. This paper discusses
in detail the implementation process for
Sections 316 and 403 of the reauthorized
MSA as well as the nal regulations for
these sections. This paper also briey
discusses the Shark Conservation Act
and its implications.
Bycatch Reduction
Engineering Program
This section describes Section 316
of the MSA. This section also describes
how Section 316 has been implemented.
Summary of Section 316
Section 316 of the MSA contains four
sections, which are entitled a) Bycatch
Reduction Engineering Program, b)
Incentives, c) Coordination on Seabird
Interactions, and d) Report. These sub-
sections are described in the following
paragraphs.
Section 316(a) required the Secretary
of Commerce, in cooperation with the
Councils and other affected interests,
to establish the BREP by mid January
2008. According to the MSA, the BREP
was to:
1) Be regionally based;
2) Be coordinated with projects con-
ducted under the cooperative re-
search and management program
established under MSRA;
3) Provide information and outreach
to shery participants that will
encourage adoption and use of
technologies developed under the
BREP; and
4) Provide for routine consultation
with the Councils in order to maxi-
mize opportunities to incorporate
results of the BREP in fishery
management plans (FMP’s) de-
veloped by the Councils.
Section 316(b) includes authorization
language stating that any FMP devel-
oped by a Council or the Secretary of
Commerce may establish a system of
incentives to reduce total bycatch and
seabird interactions, amounts, bycatch
rates, and post-release mortality in sh-
eries under the Council’s or Secretary’s
jurisdiction. Such incentives, according
to Section 316(b), could include:
1) Measures to incorporate bycatch
into quotas;
4 Marine Fisheries Review
2) Measures to promote the use of
gear with veriable and monitored
low bycatch and seabird interac-
tions and rates; and
3) Measures that will reduce bycatch
and seabird interactions, bycatch
mortality, post-release mortality,
or regulatory discards.
Section 316(c) also includes authori-
zation language stating that the Secre-
tary of Commerce, in coordination with
the Secretary of Interior, is authorized to
undertake projects in cooperation with
industry to improve information and
technology to reduce seabird bycatch.
Such projects could include:
1) Outreach to industry on new tech-
nologies and methods;
2) Projects to mitigate for seabird
mortality; and
3) Actions at appropriate internation-
al shery organizations to reduce
seabird interactions in sheries.
Section 316(d) requires the Secretary
of Commerce to transmit an annual
report to Congress that describes:
1) Funding provided to implement
Section 316;
2) Developments in gear technology
achieved under this section; and
3) Improvements and reduction in
bycatch and seabird interactions
associated with implementing
this section, as well as proposals
to address remaining bycatch or
seabird interaction problems.
Establishment of the BREP
On 30 April 2007, a NMFS working
group consisting of representatives from
three headquarters ofces, three science
centers, and one regional ofce met in
Miami to draft terms of reference for
the BREP. The terms of reference were
approved in the form of NMFS Policy
Directive 01-107, signed on 11 January
2008 by the NOAA Acting Assistant
Administrator for Fisheries. The mis-
sion of the BREP, as stated in the terms
of reference, is:
“to develop technological solutions
and investigate changes in shing
practices designed to minimize
bycatch of sh and protected spe-
cies (including marine mammals,
seabirds, and sea turtles) as well
as minimize bycatch mortality
(including post-release mortality).”
According to the BREP terms of ref-
erence, the BREP includes a National
Coordinator in the NMFS Office of
Sustainable Fisheries. The Ofce of
Sustainable Fisheries, in consultation
with the NMFS Ofces of Protected
Resources, Science and Technology,
and International Affairs, provides
policy oversight and overall coordina-
tion of activities through the National
Coordinator. National coordination
activities include providing staff sup-
port to the BREP, documenting BREP
activities, managing the annual spend-
ing plan process, serving as primary
point of contact for the annual BREP
Report to Congress, and any other activ-
ity deemed necessary by the BREP or
NMFS leadership.
In addition to the National Coordina-
tor, the BREP consists of the following
NMFS program representatives who
will have expertise in sheries bycatch,
protected resources interactions, man-
agement, and science:
One representative with hands-on
bycatch reduction engineering and
post-release injury and mortal-
ity experience from each regional
fisheries science center/regional
ofce (i.e., six total regional rep-
resentatives);
The NMFS Sea Grant Liaison (or
other Sea Grant designee);
The NMFS National Seabird Pro-
gram Coordinator;
One representative each from the
headquarters Ofces of Protected
Resources, Science and Technol-
ogy, and International Affairs; and
One representative from the Highly
Migratory Species Management
Division in the Ofce of Sustain-
able Fisheries.
When nominating representatives, the
Regional Administrator/Science Center
Director also nominates an alternate rep-
resentative with expertise in protected
resources interactions or sheries by-
catch, depending on the expertise of the
primary representative. According to the
BREP terms of reference, the regional
representatives serve as liaisons between
the BREP and already existing Regional
Bycatch Committees and Action Teams,
to the extent such committees and teams
are active.
Since its creation, the BREP has met
several times over the phone and from
2009 to 2011 met in person on an annual
basis. These meetings are designed to
discuss challenges in administering the
BREP, share developments regarding
BREP research, and plan for future
BREP growth.
BREP Projects
Since the establishment of the BREP
in 2008, the BREP has funded a wide
range of conservation engineering proj-
ects. Because the BREP was funded at
relatively low levels compared to the
BREP’s “100% requirements” as deter-
mined by a 2006 informal agency analy-
sis, the BREP did not use its funding to
conduct a competitive grant program
until 2012. However, the internal funds
allocated by the BREP have engaged
numerous industry, state, academic, and
environmental group partners through
contract vehicles and other collabora-
tive research arrangements.
Funding to implement the BREP
totaled $847, 394 in 2008. This funding
came from a NOAA budget line item
entitled “Reducing Bycatch,” which
has appeared in the NOAA budget
since 2004. Since 2004, $300,000 of
Reducing Bycatch funds has been
permanently allocated at the direction
of NMFS leadership to the Southeast
Fisheries Science Center (SEC) to
fund the gear technology program at its
Pascagoula, Miss., Laboratory. In addi-
tion, approximately $225,000 has been
permanently allocated at the direction of
NMFS leadership to fund the National
Seabird Program (NSP), the coordinator
of which is located at the NMFS Alaska
Regional Office. Remaining BREP
funds have been allocated through an
internal agency competitive proposal
process. All BREP funds are accounted
for through its annual report to Con-
gress. Funding levels from 2004 to
74(2) 5
2012 from NOAA’s Reducing Bycatch
budget line related to the BREP and
previous bycatch gear research, as well
as the breakdown among SEC, NSP, and
other allocations, is shown in Figure 1.
The 2008 BREP projects resulted in
several accomplishments to help reduce
bycatch, including:
Evaluation of bycatch reduction
devices in shrimp trawls;
Transfer of turtle excluder device
(TED) and bycatch reduction
device technology in the Southeast
Region;
Evaluation of weaker circle hooks to
release bluen tuna, Thunnus thyn-
nus, in the yellown tuna, Thunnus
albacares, longline shery;
Estimation of seabird bycatch in
Northeast commercial sheries;
Seabird bycatch avoidance in West
Coast groundsh sheries;
Monitoring of seabird distribution
and abundance in the California
Current;
Gear modications to reduce harbor
porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, in-
teractions in the commercial At-
lantic gillnet sheries;
Conservation engineering to reduce
trawl bycatch in Alaska sheries;
Reduction of post-release mortal-
ity for common thresher sharks,
Alopias vulpinus, captured in the
Southern California recreational
shery;
Reduction of shark bycatch with
electropositive metals in Hawaii-
based sheries; and
Partial funding of a gear technician
at the NMFS Northwest Fisheries
Science Center (NMFS, 2009a).
Funding to implement the BREP
totaled $1,421,707 in 2009 due to an
increase of $567,000 in the FY2009
President’s budget for NOAA. These
BREP projects once again resulted in
several accomplishments to help reduce
bycatch, including:
A pilot study of a bycatch reduc-
tion device to reduce salmon, On-
corhynchus spp., and rocksh, Se-
bastes spp., bycatch in the Pacic
whiting, Merluccius productus,
shery, which resulted in a 62%
reduction in salmon catch;
Generation of crab mortality rates
after encounters with Bering Sea
bottom trawls;
Testing a new bycatch reduction
device in the Gulf of Mexico
shrimp shery that resulted in a
36% reduction in nsh catch with
only a 4% reduction in shrimp
catch;
Testing a TED for the ynet shery
that resulted in a target catch loss
of only 6.7% but a reduction in the
unwanted catch of spiny dogsh,
Squalus acanthias, and clearnose
skates, Raja eglanteria, of 40% and
63%, respectively;
Experiments to determine the ef -
fects of Neodymium/Praseodymi-
Figure 1.—NOAA Reducing Bycatch line funding, 2004–12 ($K, NSP perm = National Seabird
Program permanent funding, SEC = Southeast Fisheries Science Center permanent funding, and
BREP non-perm = Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program competitive funding).
6 Marine Fisheries Review
um allows on longline gear, which
resulted in a 58% decrease in the
catch rate of unwanted scalloped
hammerhead sharks, Sphyrna
lewini;
Deployment of satellite tags to
thresher sharks, which resulted
in determination of a post-release
mortality rate of 26% for this im-
portant species; and
The successful completion of
the rst NMFS National Seabird
Workshop, which will help NMFS
prioritize its seabird bycatch reduc-
tion efforts (NMFS, 2010).
For 2010, NMFS allocated an ad-
ditional $400,000 to the BREP to fund
projects related to Annual Catch Limit
(ACL) restrictions due to bycatch.
Funding to implement the BREP to-
taled $1,820,648 in 2010, and projects
included research on:
Turtle bycatch reduction in the Gulf
of Mexico bottom longline reef sh
shery;
Gear modications to reduce but-
tersh, Peprilus triacanthus, by-
catch in the offshore Atlantic squid,
Loligo spp. shery;
Gear modications to reduce At-
lantic sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrin-
chus, bycatch and harbor porpoise
takes in the Atlantic monkfish,
Lophius americanus, shery;
Post-release survival of large Pa-
cic blue marlin, Makaira nigri-
cans, captured in Pacic longline
sheries;
Effects of trailing gear in the Cali-
fornia recreational thresher shark
shery;
TED’s and bycatch reduction devic-
es for the shrimp trawl shery; and
Marine mammal depredation in the
California halibut, Paralichthys
californicus, trawl shery.
Funding to implement the BREP to-
taled $1,963,490 in 2011, and projects
included research on:
Acoustic observations of false killer
whales, Pseudorca crassidens, in
the Hawaii-based tuna longline
shery;
Estimates of snow crab, Chionoece-
tes oplilio, morality as a function of
weather conditions;
Selectivity of bottom trawls to reduce
bycatch of Pacific halibut, Hip -
poglossus stenolepis, in the West
Coast groundfish trawl fishery;
Ability of Southern California
deepwater rocksh to survive baro -
traumas following in-situ recom-
pression;
Green-stick gear bycatch charac-
terization in the northern Gulf of
Mexico Atlantic tuna shery;
Effectiveness of skimmer trawl
TED’s in North Carolina inshore
waters; and
Methods to monitor seabird bycatch
in Northeast commercial sheries.
In 2012, the U.S. Senate directed
NMFS to make $2.5M of Reducing
Bycatch budget line funds available for
competitive grants to non-Federal re-
searchers working with U.S. shermen
on the development of innovative gear
technologies. This change increased
total BREP funding to a little over $3M
for FY12 (with the addition of some
funds for a few internal agency BREP
projects) from almost $2M in FY11.
Although the competitive grants have
not yet been awarded as of this writing,
the few internal BREP projects in FY12
focused on the bycatch of sea turtles,
Atlantic sturgeon, salmon, false killer
whales, sharks, and Pacific halibut.
This change in direction of the BREP
from funding internal agency proj-
ects to funding grants to non-Federal
researchers has severely limited sev-
eral regional NMFS bycatch reduction
engineering programs that had been
developed over the past several years
of BREP funding.
Figures 2 and 3 show how BREP
funds have been generally distrib-
uted among projects addressing seabird
takes, turtles bycatch/marine mammals
takes, and finfish bycatch. The pro-
portion of projects addressing nsh
bycatch increased to the greatest extent
in 2011.
The following criteria are used to
select BREP projects for funding,
whether they are internal agency proj-
ects or non-Federal grant projects:
Importance and relevance to
Regional and Atlantic Highly Mi-
gratory Species Bycatch Imple-
mentation Plans, Council research
priorities, Endangered Species
Act research priorities, and/or
Figure 2.—2010 BREP funding by subject matter.
74(2) 7
Marine Mammal Protection Act
Take Reduction Plan research
priorities;
Level of shing industry involve-
ment;
Whether the projects build upon
successful research previously
funded by the BREP; and
Project evaluation by NMFS by-
catch reduction experts.
Overall, the language in Section 316
of the MSA served to formally recognize
various efforts being conducted by parts
of NMFS to reduce bycatch since around
2003. By creating a nationally coordi-
nated program with an annual report to
Congress, Congress ensured that some
important NMFS bycatch reduction
efforts will be conducted more system-
atically and with greater accountability
than in the past.
International Bycatch Provisions
This section summarizes Section 403
of the MSA. This section also describes
regulations promulgated to implement
Section 403.
Summary of Section 403
Among its provisions, Section 403
of Title IV of the Magnuson-Stevens
Fishery Conservation and Management
Reauthorization Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-
479) amends the High Seas Driftnet
Moratorium Protection Act (Moratorium
Protection Act)(P.L. 104-43) by adding
four sections (sections 607, 608, 609,
and 610) of new international provi-
sions. Section 608 to the Moratorium
Protection Act requires the Secretary
of Commerce, in consultation with the
Secretary of State and in cooperation
with relevant regional Councils and any
relevant advisory committees, to take
actions to improve the effectiveness of
international shery management orga-
nizations in conserving and managing
stocks under their jurisdiction.
Section 607 of the Moratorium Pro-
tection Act requires the Secretary to
submit to Congress a biennial report
describing NOAA’s actions to imple-
ment the international provisions of the
reauthorized MSA. Specifically, the
report must:
1) Discuss the status of international
living marine resources shared
by the United States or subject to
treaties or agreements to which the
United States is a party;
2) List nations that have been identi-
ed for having vessels engaged in
illegal, unreported, and unregu-
lated (IUU) shing or bycatch of
PLMR’s, respectively;
3) Describe efforts by nations on
those lists to take appropriate
corrective action and evaluate the
progress of those efforts;
4) Describe progress to strengthen
the efforts of international shery
management organizations to end
IUU shing; and
5) Discuss efforts by the Secretary
to encourage the adoption of in-
ternational measures comparable
to those of the United States to
reduce impacts of fishing and
other practices on PLMR’s.
Section 609 of the Moratorium
Protection Act addresses IUU shing
activity. The Act establishes minimum
guidelines for a denition of IUU sh-
ing. These guidelines are: (1) shing
activities that violate conservation and
management measures required under
an international shery management
agreement to which the United States is
party; (2) overshing of stocks shared
by the United States to which no inter-
national conservation or management
measures apply, where the overshing
has adverse impacts on the stocks; or (3)
shing activity with adverse impact on
seamounts, hydrothermal vents, or cold-
water corals, to which no conservation
and management measures apply.
As required under the Moratorium
Protection Act, NMFS published a
denition that reected these guidelines
within 90 days of enactment (NOAA,
2007a). This denition was later modi-
ed in a nal rule establishing identica-
tion and certication procedures under
the Moratorium Protection Act (50
C.F.R. §300.201 (2011)). NMFS has
published a proposed rule that seeks to
further revise this denition consistent
with the purposes of the Moratorium
Protection Act in order to more compre-
hensively address IUU shing and more
effectively address this problem that
threatens the sustainable management
of the world’s sheries (NOAA, 2012).
Signicantly, Section 609(a) refers
to IUU shing activities of “vessels;”
thus, a nation must have more than one
vessel engaged in IUU shing activi-
ties to be identied under Section 609.
It also is worth noting that any entity
Figure 3.—2011 BREP funding by subject matter.
8 Marine Fisheries Review
other than a “nation” (as recognized
by the U.S. government) cannot be
identied for having vessels engaged
in IUU shing activity for purposes
of the Moratorium Protection Act.
Notably, the conservation measures of
some RFMO’s include provisions for
reducing bycatch. If a nation’s vessels
are shing in violation of these provi-
sions, then Section 609 can serve as
another mechanism through which the
reauthorized MSA can address interna-
tional bycatch.
Another key point is that the activ-
ity must occur during the “preceding
two years” from submission of the
biennial report to Congress. Informa-
tion concerning activities outside that
time period cannot form the basis for
an identication decision. Currently,
Congress is considering legislation
that would expand this time period
to three years. During the 111th Con-
gress, the U.S. House of Representa-
tives passed H.R. 1080, the Illegal,
Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing
Enforcement Act of 2009, on 22 Sep-
tember 2009. The U.S. Senate Com-
mittee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation reported S. 2870, the
International Fisheries Stewardship
and Enforcement Act, on 24 March
2010. The House bill was reintroduced
during the 112th Congress as H.R.
4100, and the Senate bill was reintro-
duced as S. 52.
Congress has taken several steps
toward enactment of this legislation.
The Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wild-
life, Oceans, and Insular Affairs held
a hearing on H.R. 4100 in June 2012
and discharged the bill to the House
Committee on Natural Resources for
consideration. The Senate Commerce
Committee reported S. 52 out of Com-
mittee in January 2012, and the bill is
awaiting consideration by the Senate.
Section 610 of the Moratorium
Protection Act addresses international
bycatch of PLMR’s and requires that the
Secretary identify a nation for bycatch
activities if:
1) shing vessels of that nation are
engaged, or have been engaged
during the preceding calendar year
in shing activities or practices;
A) in waters beyond any na-
tional jurisdiction that result
in bycatch of a protected living
marine resource, or
B) beyond the exclusive eco-
nomic zone of the United
States that result in bycatch
of a protected living marine
resource shared by the United
States;
2) the relevant international organi-
zation for the conservation and
protection of such resources or
the relevant or regional shery
organization has failed to imple-
ment effective measures to end or
reduce such bycatch, or the nation
is not a party to, or does not main-
tain cooperating status with, such
organization; and
3) the nation has not adopted a
regulatory program governing
such shing practices designed to
end or reduce such bycatch that is
comparable to that of the United
States, taking into account differ-
ent conditions.”
Thus, the identication of nations for
bycatch activities can be based only on
current activities of shing vessels of
that nation, or activities in which those
vessels have been engaged during the
preceding calendar year from develop-
ment of the biennial report to Congress.
Activities outside that time frame cannot
form the basis for identification. As
mentioned previously, two bills before
the 112th Congress (H.R. 4100 and S.
52) would expand this time frame to
three years. Further, the reauthorized
MSA species that the bycatch must
occur on the high seas or affect a PLMR
that is shared with the United States.
The identication criteria are critical
because the bycatch of certain species
is excluded from consideration under
these provisions.
For example, the bycatch of species
that solely exist within coastal waters of
another nation, such as the endangered
vaquita, Phocoena sinus, which occurs
only in the territorial waters of Mexico,
cannot form the basis of identifica-
tion. Likewise, the statute only allows
nations to be identified for bycatch
activities that occur under certain cir-
cumstances. Specically, nations can
be identied for shing activities and
practices that result in the bycatch of
PLMR’s where the relevant interna-
tional conservation organization has
failed to implement effective measures
to reduce such bycatch or the nation is
not a party to or a cooperating partner
with the organization. Another require-
ment for identication is that the nation
has not adopted a regulatory program
governing such shing practices that is
comparable to that of the United States,
taking into account different conditions.
Bycatch activities that fail to meet
these criteria cannot form the basis for
identication.
Promulgation of Regulations
In its implementation of the bycatch
provisions of the reauthorized MSA,
NMFS published an Advance Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on
11 June 2007 in the Federal Register
(NOAA, 2007b) to announce that it was
developing certication procedures to
address IUU shing and bycatch of
PLMR’s pursuant to the Moratorium
Protection Act. In addition to soliciting
written comments on the ANPR, NMFS
held three public input sessions around
the country. NMFS also hosted a meet-
ing of representatives from foreign
embassies. These meetings provided
valuable opportunities for NMFS to ex-
plain the ANPR, respond to questions,
and receive feedback from the public.
Taking into consideration the com-
ments from the ANPR, NMFS drafted
a proposed rule and published it on 14
January 2009 in the Federal Register
(NOAA, 2009). In addition to solicit-
ing written comments on the proposed
rule, NMFS held six public hearings
around the country. NMFS prepared
a draft Environmental Assessment to
accompany this proposed rule, which
includes a Regulatory Impact Review
and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analy-
sis (NMFS, 2009c). The regulations,
which were nalized in January 2011,
provide guidance for the identication
and certication procedures under the
Moratorium Protection Act (50 C.F.R.
§300.201 (2011)).
74(2) 9
Identifying Nations
Engaged in PLMR Bycatch
When determining whether to iden-
tify a nation as having shing vessels
engaged in the bycatch of PLMR’s
in the previous calendar year, NMFS
evaluates appropriate information and
evidence. Once NMFS has determined
that information on PLMR bycatch is
credible and provides a reasonable basis
to believe or suspect that a nation’s sh-
ing vessels are engaged in bycatch of
PLMR’s, NMFS—acting through or in
consultation with the U.S. State Depart-
ment—will initiate bilateral discussions
with the nation. The discussions will:
1) seek credible information that cor-
roborates or refutes the alleged PLMR
bycatch; 2) communicate the require-
ments of the Moratorium Protection
Act to the nation; and 3) encourage the
nation to address the PLMR bycatch and
take the necessary actions to receive a
positive certication.
In determining whether to identify na-
tions for bycatch of PLMR’s, NMFS will
consider information gathered during bi-
lateral discussions and examine whether
the nation has implemented measures
that are deemed to be effective to reduce
bycatch of the relevant PLMR’s. NMFS
will also examine whether there is an
international organization with responsi-
bility for the conservation of the PLMR,
and whether the nation is party to or
maintains cooperating status with the
relevant international body.
Further, NMFS will consider whether
the relevant international body has ad-
opted effective measures for reducing
bycatch of PLMR’s and whether the
nation has implemented and is enforcing
such measures. If an identied nation
is not party to the international body
with responsibility for bycatch of the
PLMR’s in question, NMFS will consid-
er whether the nation has implemented
effective measures for reducing bycatch
of such PLMR’s. Such measures may
include, but are not limited to: 1) pro-
grams for data collection and sharing,
including observer programs; 2) bycatch
reduction and mitigation strategies,
techniques, and equipment, including
gear restrictions and gear modications;
and 3) improved monitoring, control,
and surveillance of shing activities.
When making identication determina-
tions, NMFS will also examine whether
adequate enforcement measures and
capacity exist to promote compliance.
Notication and Consultation
Pursuant to the requirements under
the Moratorium Protection Act, NMFS
will publish a list of nations that have
been identied as having shing ves-
sels engaged in bycatch of PLMR’s in
the biennial Report to Congress. Upon
submission of the biennial Report to
Congress, the Secretary of Commerce,
acting through or in cooperation with
the Secretary of State, will: 1) initiate
consultations with identied nations for
the purposes of entering into bilateral
and multilateral treaties to protect the
PLMR’s from the bycatch activities
described in the biennial report; and 2)
seek agreements through international
organizations calling for international
restrictions on the shing activities or
practices described in the biennial report
that result in bycatch of PLMR’s.
Procedures to Certify Nations
Based on the identication, notica-
tion, and consultation processes outlined
above, NMFS will certify nations that
have been identified in the biennial
report.
Identied nations will receive either
a positive or negative certication. A
positive certication indicates that a
nation has: 1) provided documentary
evidence of the adoption of a regulatory
program governing the conservation of
the PLMR that is comparable to that
of the United States, taking into ac-
count different conditions, and which,
in the case of pelagic longline shing,
includes mandatory use of circle hooks,
careful handling and release equipment,
and training and observer programs;
and 2) established a management plan
containing requirements that will assist
in gathering species-specific data to
support international assessments and
conservation enforcement efforts for
PLMR’s.
When determining whether a nation’s
regulatory program is comparable to
measures required in the United States,
NMFS will consider whether the pro-
gram is comparable in effectiveness,
taking into account different conditions
that could bear on the feasibility and ef-
cacy of comparable measures. If other
measures could address bycatch of the
PLMR’s in question that are comparable
in effectiveness, then the implementa-
tion of such measures by a nation may
be deemed sufcient for purposes of the
Moratorium Protection Act. As relevant,
NMFS will consider whether measures
have been implemented and effectively
enforced, including, but not limited to:
1) programs for data collection and
sharing, including observer programs;
2) bycatch reduction and mitigation
strategies, techniques, and equipment
(including training and assistance for
bycatch reduction technology and
equipment); and 3) improved monitor-
ing, control, and surveillance of shing
activities.
When making certication determi-
nations, the Secretary of Commerce
will, in consultation with the Secretary
of State, evaluate the information dis-
cussed above, comments received from
such nation, the consultations with each
identied nation, and other relevant ac-
tions, such as requests for assistance in
the implementation of measures compa-
rable to those of the United States. The
Secretary of Commerce will also take
into account whether the nation partici-
pates in existing certication programs,
such as those authorized under Section
609 of the Endangered Species Act (P.L.
101–162), or the affirmative finding
process under the International Dolphin
Conservation Program Act. Nothing in
the proposed regulations will modify
these existing certication procedures.
If nations identied as having sh-
ing vessels engaged in PLMR bycatch
receive a positive certication from the
Secretary of Commerce pursuant to the
Moratorium Protection Act, no actions
will be taken against such nations. If an
identied nation fails to sufciently ad-
dress PLMR bycatch and receives a neg-
ative certication, the nation could face
denial of port privileges, prohibitions
on the import of certain sh and sh
products into the United States, as well
10 Marine Fisheries Review
as other appropriate measures, based on
recommendations from the Secretary to
the President. The process for determin-
ing appropriate action will consider the
circumstances, extent, and gravity of the
bycatch of PLMR’s for which the initial
identication was made, and other rel-
evant factors. The Secretary will make
such recommendations in accordance
with U.S. obligations under applicable
international trade law, including the
World Trade Organization.
To facilitate enforcement, nations that
do not receive a positive certication
may be required to submit documenta-
tion of admissibility when exporting
fish to the United States. To inform
U.S. ports that cargo originating from
a foreign port may not be permitted
to enter into the United States, NMFS
intends to collaborate with other Federal
agencies and take advantage of exist-
ing prior notication procedures, such
as those required under section 343(a)
of the Trade Act of 2002, or those pro-
posed for further development under
the International Trade Data System
(ITDS) established under the Security
and Accountability for Every (SAFE)
Port Act of 2006.
If the Secretary of Commerce cannot
reach a certication determination for
an identied nation by the time of the
next biennial report, the Moratorium
Protection Act requires the Secretary
to establish alternative procedures for
the certication of sh or sh prod-
ucts from such nation. Under these
alternative procedures, the Secretary of
Commerce may allow entry of sh on
a shipment-by-shipment, shipper-by-
shipper, or other basis as long as speci-
ed conditions are met. To qualify for
the alternative certication procedures,
NMFS must determine that imports
were harvested by practices that do not
result in bycatch of PLMR’s or were
harvested by practices comparable to
those required in the United States, ac-
counting for different conditions that
affect the feasibility and efcacy of such
practices, which, in the case of pelagic
longline shing, includes mandatory
use of circle hooks, careful handling
and release equipment, and training and
observer programs.
Identication Decisions
Under the Moratorium Protection
Act, NMFS is not required to estab-
lish regulations for the identication
process. Although NMFS has opted to
promulgate regulations for the iden-
tication process for transparency, its
rst identication process was based
on the statutory text of the amendments
because regulations implementing the
new amendments were not finalized
in time for the rst biennial report. In
preparation for the identication deci-
sions in the in the rst biennial Report
to Congress, NMFS solicited informa-
tion from the public, other nations,
other U.S. government agencies, and
international organizations regarding
nations whose vessels were engaged
in IUU shing activity in 2007 or 2008
or PLMR bycatch during 2008. On 21
March 2008, NMFS published a notice
in the Federal Register requesting such
information (NOAA, 2008). NMFS cir-
culated this notice widely to constituents
and discussed it at relevant bilateral and
multilateral meetings.
In response to the Federal Register
notice, NMFS received reports, IUU
vessel lists, peer-reviewed literature,
and other information from individuals,
nongovernmental organizations, and
other nations. In addition to information
gathered from the public, NMFS also
solicited RFMO information, including
RFMO IUU vessel lists, compliance re-
ports, information on violations of con-
servation and management measures,
and scientic reports. From its regional
ofces and science centers, NMFS also
solicited information, including peer-
reviewed literature, scientic reports,
and information on cooperative scien-
tic work, on bycatch activities.
The information received focused
mostly on alleged IUU shing activity;
relatively little information was pro-
vided on PLMR bycatch. Of the bycatch
information that was provided, much of
it could not be used in the identication
process because this information did not
fall within the preceding calendar year
as required in the Moratorium Protection
Act. Unfortunately, due to the process
of collecting and analyzing bycatch
information, this information is rarely
available for the previous year.
Even for U.S. PLMR stocks, the most
recent data available usually is at least 2
or 3 years old (e.g., see NMFS marine
mammal stock assessments). Generally,
such data must be collected by placing
independent observers on shing vessels
and implementing effective observer
programs. This can be logistically chal-
lenging and expensive. To address this
issue, NMFS is providing training and
other assistance to developing nations to
foster the development and implemen-
tation of effective observer programs.
Another issue that arose concerned
the geographic scope and nature of
bycatch activities. In some cases,
information was provided on shing
activities that did not fall within the
scope of PLMR bycatch, as described
under the Moratorium Protection Act.
For example, information was provided
on the bycatch of species found solely
within the EEZ of another nation that
are not shared with the United States.
Such activities do not qualify as PLMR
bycatch for purposes of the Moratorium
Protection Act.
All information received and collect-
ed was compiled, reviewed, and com-
pared against the criteria and statutory
requirements of the Moratorium Protec-
tion Act. Following this process, NMFS
analyzed the information and concluded
that no nations could be identied for
PLMR bycatch under section 610 due
to the restrictions in the Moratorium
Protection Act. Further, no nations were
identied under section 609 for violating
RFMO bycatch measures. NMFS did,
however, identify six nations (France,
Italy, Libya, Panama, People’s Republic
of China, and Tunisia) for other IUU
shing activities under section 609.
Although NMFS fullled its obliga-
tions under the Act to examine informa-
tion on bycatch for potential use in the
identication procedures, NMFS was
unable to identify nations for having
vessels engaged in shing activity or
practices that result in PLMR bycatch
for the reasons discussed above. In
preparation for the second biennial
report to Congress, which was pub-
lished in January 2011, NMFS followed
74(2) 11
the same process and faced the same
challenges. NMFS was unable to iden-
tify nations having vessels engaged in
PLMR bycatch.
Despite these difculties in imple-
menting these provisions, NMFS al-
ready has long-standing outreach and
assistance programs with a number
of nations to address their PLMR by-
catch. The U.S. Government engages
in cooperative research with several
nations and is working to enhance
other nations’ capacity to reduce and
mitigate bycatch. NMFS intends to
continue those programs and to initiate
additional programs with other nations
based on the nature of their PLMR by-
catch interactions, need for assistance,
and willingness to work cooperatively
with the United States.
Additionally, NMFS developed a
process to determine which nations’
shing activities are likely to result in
bycatch of PLMR species. As part of
this process, NMFS began to compare
the distribution of PLMR species with
the distribution of sheries effort using
gear that is known to have signicant
PLMR bycatch rates. NMFS conducted
an initial analysis comparing available
information on pelagic longline sheries
with species distribution information.
Additional analyses and information
will be required to develop a compre-
hensive list of nations whose shing
activities are likely to result in PLMR
bycatch. NMFS also will continue to
collect information for possible iden-
tication of nations for PLMR bycatch
under the provisions of the Moratorium
Protection Act.
Identifying Nations
in Relation to Shark Conservation
The High Seas Driftnet Fishing Mora-
torium Protection Act was amended by
the international provisions of the Shark
Conservation Act, which was enacted in
January 2011. Under this law, NMFS is
required to identify nations whose sh-
ing vessels engaged in directed or inci-
dental catch of sharks on the high seas
and do not have a regulatory program for
the conservation of sharks comparable
to that of the United States. More infor-
mation on how NMFS plans to imple-
ment these provisions can be found in a
proposed rule that was published in July
2012 (NMFS, 2012). Although this law
is in the early stages of implementation,
it provides a new tool to promote the
sustainable harvest and management of
sharks and the adoption of international
measures for the conservation of sharks.
Conclusion
This paper has summarized how
NMFS has and is implementing the
new bycatch provisions in the MSA.
The new provisions have provided new
and enhanced tools to address bycatch
both domestically and internationally.
Importantly, the provisions provide new
mechanisms through which stakehold-
ers can inform and inuence effective
bycatch practices.
Section 316 of the MSA, which cre-
ated the BREP, has made signicant
progress to develop technological
devices and other conservation engi-
neering designed to minimize bycatch,
seabird interactions, bycatch mortality,
and post-release mortality in Federally
managed sheries. It is worth noting
that although Section 316(a) focuses
on Federally managed sheries, Section
316(c) allows for an international ele-
ment to the overall work of the BREP,
at least in terms of seabird interactions.
In addition, although the most recent
reauthorization of the MSA did not
revise the MSA’s denition of bycatch
to encompass seabirds, Section 316’s
explicit identication of seabirds as a
major concern of the Bycatch Reduction
Engineering Program does more closely
associate seabirds with the concept of
bycatch.
Improvements to bycatch reduction
devices and TED’s in Atlantic and
Gulf of Mexico trawl sheries, gillnets
in Northeast fisheries, and trawls in
Alaska and Pacic Northwest sheries;
improvements in our understanding
of post-release mortality in Southwest
shark sheries; and documentation and
monitoring of seabird bycatch around
the country will help NMFS meet its
obligations under the MSA, ESA,
MMPA, and the U.S. National Plan
of Action for Reducing the Incidental
Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries.
The impacts of shifting the majority of
BREP funding in 2012 from internal
agency research to external non-Federal
grants are hard to estimate, but applying
internal BREP project selection criteria
to the external grants program should
result in the awarding of grants to high-
quality projects.
The new international bycatch provi-
sions in the MSA provide an innovative
and comprehensive tool through which
the United States can address bycatch
by foreign nations. By combining
incentives for positive action toward
addressing and mitigating bycatch
and sanctions for fishing activities
and practices that result in bycatch
of protected species, the provisions
embody a “carrot and stick” approach to
encourage effective bycatch reduction
practices and reprove failure to employ
these practices.
Given the lack of resources of some
nations to address bycatch, NMFS and
the U.S. Congress have embraced the
approach of providing international
cooperation and assistance to other
nations to enhance their capacity for
achieving sustainable sheries. In the
rst year of the reauthorized MSA, a half
million dollars was spent by NMFS on
cooperative work with other nations to
address IUU and international bycatch.
In subsequent years, Congress has al-
located more than one million dollars,
allowing NMFS to provide nancial
and personnel resources to developing
nations. Capacity building projects that
NMFS has supported or assisted include
observer and enforcement training,
marine mammal stranding training,
training in the use of bycatch reduction
and mitigation gear such as circle hooks,
and bycatch research.
If funding continues at or above the
current level, NMFS can potentially
implement a long-term bycatch strategy.
Unlike the short-term international by-
catch reduction projects in which most
governments and NGO’s engage, a long-
term strategy would encourage enduring
changes. A recent study by the National
Research Council found that long-term
investments in capacity building are
critical for proper stewardship of the
oceans, but are often not funded (NRC,
12 Marine Fisheries Review
2008). The MSA funding can possibly
help ll this need.
The new MSA provisions hold value
for many of NMFS’ stakeholders, from
shermen to foreign nations. There are
three aspects of the new provisions that
are especially notable: increased equity,
new mechanism of communication,
and new outlets to inuence change.
The provisions could potentially in-
crease international equity of bycatch
requirements. As the United States is at
the vanguard of implementing bycatch
measures domestically, increased equity
would benet domestic shermen, al-
lowing them to be more competitive on
the global market.
In the past, the United States used
international organizations, multilat-
eral, and bilateral meetings as venues
in which to discuss international
bycatch. Unfortunately, some nations
do not belong to relevant interna-
tional organizations to which the
United States is a member or do not
have relevant multilateral or bilateral
relationships with the United States.
The consultation provisions provide
new mechanisms through which the
United States and foreign nations
can engage in constructive discourse
about bycatch reduction techniques
and strategies.
Increasingly in recent years, nongov-
ernmental organizations, RFMO’s, and
academics are undertaking research and
data collection on international bycatch
practices (Lewison et al., 2004; Lewi-
son and Crowder, 2007; López-Mendi-
laharsu et al., 2007). The identication
and certication processes of the reau-
thorized MSA provide an opportunity to
use the information gleaned from these
investigations to inuence the bycatch
practices of other nations, primarily in
those circumstances in which bilateral
and multilateral engagement have not
been effective in reducing bycatch. The
primary constraints on this information
are that it must focus on bycatch by
individual vessels and must be obtained
within the calendar year preceding the
biennial report to Congress. If Congress
passes H.R. 4100 and/or S. 52, the time
frame for information that could be
used in identifying nations for bycatch
would expand to three years, which
could increase the information available
for potential use in the identication
process under the reauthorized MSA.
Further, this legislation would authorize
creation of an International Cooperation
and Assistance Program to provide as-
sistance for efforts to build sustainable
shery management capacity in other
nations. This program, which would be
authorized at $5 million annually over
ve years, could allow NMFS to expand
its international cooperative assistance
program and significantly increase
NMFS’ efforts to address international
bycatch.
Literature Cited
Benaka, L. R., and J. Dobrzynski. 2004. The
National Marine Fisheries Service’s National
Bycatch Strategy. Mar. Fish. Rev. 66(2):1–8.
Chopin, F., Y. Inoue, and P. He. 1996. Future
directions in conservation technology. Con-
trib. Res. Fish. Engr. (2):59–67.
Coe, J. M., D. B. Holts, and R. W. Butler. 1984.
The tuna-porpoise problem: NMFS dolphin
mortality reduction research, 1970–1981.
Mar. Fish. Rev. 46(3):18–33.
FAO. 1995. Code of conduct for responsible sh-
eries. FAO, Rome, Italy, 41 p.
Kelleher, K. 2005. Discards in the world’s marine
sheries. An update. FAO, Rome, Italy, 131 p.
Lewison, R., and L. B. Crowder. 2007. Putting
longline bycatch of sea turtles into perspec-
tive. Conserv. Biol. 21(1):79–86.
________ , S. A. Freeman, and L. B. Crowder.
2004. Quantifying the effects of sheries
on threatened species: the impact of pelagic
longlines on loggerhead and leatherback sea
turtles. Ecol. Letters 7:221–231.
López-Mendilaharsu, M., G. Sales, B. Giffoni, P.
Miller, F. N. Fiedler, and A. Domingo. 2007.
Distribucion y composicion de tallas de las
tortugas marinas (Caretta caretta y Dermo-
chelys coriacea) que interaction con el pala-
nagre pelagico en el atlantic sur. Col. Vol. Sci.
Pap. ICCAT 60(6):2094–2109.
NMFS. 1998. Managing the nation’s bycatch.
Programs, activities, and recommendations
for the National Marine Fisheries Service.
U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA, Natl. Mar. Fish.
Serv., Silver Spring, Md., 174 p.
________ . 2009a. Bering Sea Chinook salmon
bycatch management, volume II, nal regu-
latory impact review. U.S. Dep. Commer.,
NOAA, Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv., Juneau, Ak.,
323 p.
________ . 2009b. Annual Report to Congress
on the Bycatch Reduction Engineering Pro-
gram. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA, Natl. Mar.
Fish. Serv., Silver Spring, Md., 55 p.
________ . 2009c. Draft environmental assess-
ment, regulatory impact review, and regula-
tory exibility analysis for a proposed rule
to establish identication and certication
procedures for nations under the High Seas
Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act.
U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA, Natl. Mar. Fish.
Serv., Silver Spring, Md., 105 p.
________ . 2010. Annual Report to Congress on
the Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.
U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA, Natl. Mar. Fish.
Serv., Silver Spring, Md., 95 p.
NOAA. 2007a. Illegal, unreported, or unreg-
ulated shing, nal rule. 72 Fed. Regist. 70 (12
April 2007), p. 18,404–18,405. Available on-
line at https://federalregister.gov/a/07-1830.
________ . 2007b. Certication of nations whose
shing vessels are engaged in illegal, unre-
ported, or unregulated shing or bycatch of
protected living marine resources. Advance
notice of proposed rulemaking, 72 Fed.
Regist. 111 (11 June 2007), p. 32,052–32,055.
Available online at https://federalregister.
gov/a/E7-11254.
________ . 2008. Identication of nations whose
shing vessels are engaged in illegal, unre-
ported, or unregulated shing and/or bycatch
of protected living marine resources. Notice,
73 Fed. Regist. 56 (21 Mar. 2008), p. 15,136–
15,137. Available online at https://federalreg-
ister.gov/a/E8-5786.
________ . 2009. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery
Conservation and Management Reautho-
rization Act; Proposed rule to implement
identication and certication procedures to
address illegal, unreported, and unregulated
(IUU) shing activities and bycatch of pro-
tected living marine resources (PLMR’s). 74
Fed. Regist. 9 (14 Jan. 2009), p. 2,019–2,032.
Available online at https://federalregister.
gov/a/E9-609.
________ . 2010. Chinook salmon bycatch man-
agement in Bering Sea pollock shery. Final
rule. 75 Fed. Regist. 167 (30 Aug. 2010), p.
53,026–53,074. Available online at https://
federalregister.gov/a/2010-20618.
________ . 2012. High Seas Driftnet Fishing
Moratorium Protection Act; Identication and
certication procedures to address shark con-
servation. 77 Fed. Regist. 132 (10 July 2012),
p. 40,553–40,561. Available online at https://
federalregister.gov/a/2012-16838.
NRC. 2008. Increasing capacity for stewardship
of oceans and coasts: a priority for the 21st
Century. Natl. Res. Counc., Wash. D.C., Nat.
Acad. Press, 156 p.
Prado, J. 1997. Technical measures for bycatch
reduction. FAO Fish. Rep. 547 suppl.:25–44.
Wilde, G. R. 2009. Does venting promote sur-
vival of released sh? Fisheries 34(1):20–28.
... • The United States, via the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, reauthorized in 2006 (Benaka et al. 2012); • The European Union, via its Common Fisheries Policy that includes a Landing Obligation introduced in 2013 (Uhlmann et al. 2019); • Kenya, via a trawling ban implemented in 2006 (Munga et al. 2012); and • Australia, via its National Policy on Fisheries Bycatch, adopted in 1999 (Tuck et al. 2013). ...
... In the Alaska Region, we compared fishery tier scores using the 2005 list of fisheries from the first edition of the NBR (NMFS 2011), and the 2015 list of fisheries from Table 5.1 in the NBR Update 3 (Benaka et al. 2019). In the NBR Update 3, some groundfish and Pacific halibut fisheries were consolidated to represent how fisheries are managed and prosecuted, rather than classifying fisheries based on factors such as the gear or area fished. ...
... Scatter plots of the weight of discards (in ten thousands of pounds, y-axis) for each U.S. fishery with bycatch estimates for 2015 in the National Bycatch Report(Benaka et al. 2019), with tier score on the x-axis. Tier score is shown by the symbol fill color. ...
Article
Full-text available
Bycatch continues to be a challenge to sustainable fisheries management (The term “bycatch” in this paper covers discards and does not include retained incidental catch). Bycatch estimates can inform stock status determinations by improving understanding of fishing mortality, and help managers monitor the effectiveness of regulations. Assessments of the quality of bycatch estimation programs and procedures are necessary to evaluate the precision and limitations of their results over time. NOAA Fisheries experts used a “Tier Classification System” (TCS) to compare the quality of fish bycatch data and estimation methods for U.S. commercial fisheries in 2005 and 2015. The TCS included criteria related to data adequacy and analytical approaches. A comparison of U.S. fishery tier scores demonstrated that most fisheries were classified into higher tiers in 2015 compared to 2005 due to factors including improved sampling design. In addition, this comparison identified region-specific trends (e.g., mostly improvements occurred for Alaska fisheries with more mixed results for Greater Atlantic fisheries). The improvements in bycatch data quality and estimation methods in the United States are a result of financial investments in observer programs by NOAA Fisheries and industry partners, as well as effective conservation measures implemented by regional fishery management councils and NOAA Fisheries. The TCS was also used to assess bycatch data and estimation methods in all of Australia’s fishery jurisdictions for the decade 2010–19, illustrating the international applicability of the method. Overall, Australian state fisheries scored lower than federally managed fisheries in both the United States and Australia, reflecting the fact that the latter fisheries tend to be larger (and more valuable) than those in state jurisdictions, with a larger investment in observer programs. A comparison of tier scores and estimates of discards by fishery may provide a useful input for decision-making processes regarding allocation of resources to improve bycatch monitoring.
... In addition to overexploitation of many commercial stocks, the incidental capture of non-target organismscommonly referred to as bycatchcan lead to population declines of vulnerable species, which in turn can alter ecosystem structure and function [21,55]. Bycatch can also damage gear, increase sorting time, and close fisheries or shift them into less profitable areas to protect non-target species [3]. ...
... In United States federal waters, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (hereafter MSA) is the primary law that codifies marine fisheries management. In an effort to improve international fisheries management and prevent U.S. fisheries from being disadvantaged by domestic regulations to address bycatch, the U.S. Congress reformed the MSA in 2006, amending the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act (Moratorium Protection Act) with Section 610(a)(1) (hereafter 610), an international provision that directs the Secretary of Commerce to identify foreign nations engaged in bycatch of protected living marine resources (PLMRs) [3,27]. Functionally, this responsibility is delegated to NOAA Fisheries [3]. ...
... In an effort to improve international fisheries management and prevent U.S. fisheries from being disadvantaged by domestic regulations to address bycatch, the U.S. Congress reformed the MSA in 2006, amending the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act (Moratorium Protection Act) with Section 610(a)(1) (hereafter 610), an international provision that directs the Secretary of Commerce to identify foreign nations engaged in bycatch of protected living marine resources (PLMRs) [3,27]. Functionally, this responsibility is delegated to NOAA Fisheries [3]. PLMRs consist predominantly of cetaceans, pinnipeds, sea turtles, and sharks [26]. ...
... Subsequently, the United States passed a law requiring the use of TEDs in fisheries around the world that export seafood to the United States. The technological system for implementing this law was large, complex, and political because it was necessary for engaging and negotiating with other governments to implement a U.S. law in sovereign waters of foreign nations (Benaka et al., 2012;Senko et al., 2017). The technological system for international use of TEDs is an example of an inherently political MCT system. ...
Article
Full-text available
The term conservation technology is applied widely and loosely to any technology connected to conservation. This overly broad understanding can lead to confusion around the actual mechanisms of conservation within a technological system, which can result in neglect and underdevelopment of the human dimensions of conservation technology, impacting its effectiveness. This paper offers precise definitions of marine conservation technology and a technological marine conservation system. It summarizes some of the concerns about the use of marine conservation technologies. It discusses in depth how technology and technological systems can have power, politics, and culture. It proposes the social‐ecological‐technological systems framework to incorporate this broader understanding, so that the values and concerns of people, groups, and society are more effectively addressed in the creation and implementation of marine conservation technologies and technological marine conservation systems. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Article
Full-text available
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) launched its National Bycatch Strategy (NBS) in March 2003 in response to the continued fisheries management challenge posed by fisheries bycatch. NMFS has several strong mandates for fish and protected species bycatch reduction, including the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Despite efforts to address bycatch during the 1990's, NMFS was petitioned in 2002 to count, cap, and control bycatch. The NBS initiated as part of NMFS's response to the petition for rulemaking contained six components: 1) assess bycatch progress, 2) develop an approach to standardized bycatch reporting methodology, 3) develop bycatch implementation plans, 4) undertake education and outreach, 5) develop new international approaches to bycatch, and 6) identify new funding requirements. The definition of bycatch for the purposes of the NBS proved to be a contentious issue for NMFS, but steady progress is being made by the agency and its partners to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable.
Article
Full-text available
SUMMARY Throughout the world the incidental catch and mortality of sea turtles in pelagic longline represents a serious threat for these stocks. This problem has received more attention in recent years due to the current state of conservation of these species. This paper analyzes the information obtained between 1998 and 2005 from 1,729 sets carried out by observers on board the Brazilian and Uruguayan pelagic longline fleets that fish in the Atlantic Ocean. Observations were made of 2,643,851 hooks set, from 28ºS to 38ºS, where 1,693 Caretta caretta and 238 Dermochelys coriacea were caught. For C. caretta higher CPUE values were observed between 32º and 36ºS and between 41-53ºW and 29-33ºW. A seasonal increase was observed in the number of catches of this species in the summer and autumn months. D. coriacea showed higher CPUE values in the area close to the slope (41-53ºW), and higher catches were observed between May and August. Biometric data of individuals caught were collected when posible. The majority of the C. caretta turtles were mature individuals (average= 57.1 cm) and in the case of D. coriacea a predominance of adults was noted (average= 151.2 cm). RESUME
Article
Fishes captured and brought to the surface by commercial and recreational fishers may suffer a variety of injuries that collectively are referred to as barotrauma. To relieve barotrauma symptoms, particularly those associated with an expanded swim bladder, some anglers deflate, or vent, the swim bladder (or body cavity when the swim bladder has ruptured) of fishes before releasing them. I compiled 17 studies that assessed the potential benefits of venting in 21 fish species and 1 composite group. These studies provided 39 sample estimates that compare survival (N = 18) and recapture rates (N = 21) of vented and unvented fish. I used relative risk to summarize results of individual studies, which allowed me to combine results from experimental and capture-recapture studies. Overall, there was little evidence that venting benefited fish survival. Venting was equally ineffective for freshwater and marine fishes and its efficacy was unaffected based on whether venting was performed by fishery biologists or anglers. The effects of venting did vary with capture depth: venting was slightly beneficial to fish captured from shallow waters, but appeared to be increasingly harmful for fish captured from progressively deeper waters. The available evidence suggests that venting fish should not only be discouraged by fishery management agencies, but given the possibility that venting may adversely affect survival of fish captured from deep water, this practice should be prohibited, rather than required by regulation.
Article
The depletion of fish stocks from global fisheries has been a long-standing concern. More recently, incidental catch of non-target (termed bycatch) vertebrates also has been proposed as a serious conservation issue. Here we present a bycatch assessment for loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles that are incidentally caught by global pelagic longlines. We integrate catch data from over 40 nations and bycatch data from 13 international observer programmes. Despite infrequent rates of encounter, our analyses show that more than 200 000 loggerheads and 50 000 leatherbacks were likely taken as pelagic longline bycatch in 2000. Our analyses suggest that thousands of these turtles die each year from longline gear in the Pacific Ocean alone. Given 80–95% declines for Pacific loggerhead and leatherback populations over the last 20 years, this bycatch level is not sustainable. Adopting a large-scale, synthetic approach is critical to accurately characterize the influence of global fisheries bycatch on globally distributed and imperilled pelagic vertebrates.
Article
Although some sea turtle populations are showing encouraging signs of recovery, others continue to decline. Reversing population declines requires an understanding of the primary factor(s) that underlie this persistent demographic trend. The list of putative factors includes direct turtle and egg harvest, egg predation, loss or degradation of nesting beach habitat, fisheries bycatch, pollution, and large-scale changes in oceanographic conditions and nutrient availability. Recently, fisheries bycatch, in particular bycatch from longline fisheries, has received increased attention and has been proposed as a primary source of turtle mortality. We reviewed the existing data on the relative impact of longline bycatch on sea turtle populations. Although bycatch rates from individual longline vessels are extremely low, the amount of gear deployed by longline vessels suggests that cumulative bycatch of turtles from older age classes is substantial. Current estimates suggest that even if pelagic longlines are not the largest single source of fisheries-related mortality, longline bycatch is high enough to warrant management actions in all fleets that encounter sea turtles. Nevertheless, preliminary data also suggest that bycatch from gillnets and trawl fisheries is equally high or higher than longline bycatch with far higher mortality rates. Until gillnet and trawl fisheries are subject to the same level of scrutiny given to pelagic longlines, our understanding of the overall impact of fisheries bycatch on vulnerable sea turtle populations will be incomplete.
Future directions in conservation technology
  • F Chopin
  • Y Inoue
  • P He
Chopin, F., Y. Inoue, and P. He. 1996. Future directions in conservation technology. Contrib. Res. Fish. Engr. (2):59-67.
High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act; Identification and certification procedures to address shark conservation . 77 Available online at https:// federalregister
________. 2012. High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act; Identification and certification procedures to address shark conservation. 77 Fed. Regist. 132 (10 July 2012), p. 40,553–40,561. Available online at https:// federalregister.gov/a/2012-16838.