2017 - 2022
The incidental catches of vulnerable species such as marine mammals, seabirds, sea turtles, sharks and rays, and coral and sponges in fishing gear, known as "Bycatch", is a key conservation issue for the Mediterranean. Bycatch is one of the biggest threats to marine biodiversity with thousands of threatened marine species being caught in fishing gear every year.
MedBycatch is the first project to develop a standardized multi-taxa approach to study and mitigate bycatch in the Mediterranean. Activities are implemented in the Mediterranean waters of Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Italy, and Croatia.
In the context of the MedBycatch project, robust data is collected in a harmonized way to allow comparison across the Mediterranean. National teams of observers have been established and trained to collect data in collaboration with fishers through onboard observations and questionnaires in ports. Moreover, changes to fishing gear are going to be identified and tested for their effectiveness to mitigate single and multi-taxa bycatch.
Through our policy engagement, we target decision-makers at the national, regional, and international levels to ensure that legislation supports efforts to tackle the issue of bycatch.
Last but not least, we aim to raise awareness on the issue of bycatch among key stakeholders and general audiences through a comprehensive communication strategy and action plan.
MedBycatch promotes a collaborative approach towards tackling bycatch of vulnerable species. We work with the fishers, acknowledging that bycatch is a problem for them too, and we believe that only with their collaboration we can achieve sustainable results.
Phase 1 (2017-2020):
On-board observations > 300
Port-questionnaires > 6.000
The number of ports monitored > 43 in Tunisia, Morocco, and Turkey.
Objectives / results
- To provide robust data on the impact of fishing operations on marine megafauna
- To demonstrate the viability of technical mitigation measures that can reduce the impact of bycatch on vulnerable species
- To promote measures that address ByCatch to be adopted within GFCM and the EU
- To raise awareness on the issue of bycatch of vulnerable species and build support for actions that tackle this problem
- To facilitate replication across the Mediterranean