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Research and Development for the UK Seabird Plan of Action (PoA) - ME6024

In 2018, Defra requested that JNCC undertake research and development for the UK Seabird Plan of Action (PoA) with the involvement of the devolved administrations. This was a continuation of a 2017 HBDSEG Research Project intended to expand the programme of work from monitoring and assessment to action and mitigation. Various policies drive this work, including the UK Marine Strategy, and it draws upon international standards such as the UN FAO International Plan of Action (IPoA) for Reducing the Incidental Catches of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries. The goal of the UK PoA is to "Deliver a coherent approach to understand and where necessary reduce seabird bycatch in UK fisheries, through engagement and dialogue with all interested parties and the implementation of subsequent recommendation".

In 2018/19 (Year 1) work began to estimate the levels of bycatch mortalities and effects on seabird populations. Those estimates show the scale of bycatch mortality to be on the order of ten thousand individuals for species such as fulmar and, though lower for species such as great cormorant, show the potential for serious population level effects. From these estimates a targeted approach to monitoring and mitigating bycatch can be developed. This is the goal for continuing research and development to support the UK Seabird Plan of Action in 2019/20 and 2020/21: to refine estimates, improve monitoring and assessment, define best practice in mitigation, and engage on voluntary implementation or regulatory intervention where necessary. The severity of bycatch mortalities necessitates commitment to action by the UK government and devolved administrations in 2019 through 2021.
1. Finish and publish a quantitative UK-wide assessment of the scale of seabird bycatch and its likely impacts on populations.
2. Development of toolkits to assess the strengths and weaknesses of different mitigation measures, tailored for use by distinct audiences
3. Identify enhancements to existing monitoring and assessment of seabird bycatch under the Protected Species Bycatch Monitoring Programme (PSBMP) and other appropriate means.
4. Conduct training and awareness-raising to achieve the objectives of the PoA, dependent upon outcomes from year 1 and 2.
5. Input on the drafting and publication of the “UK National Plan of Action on Seabird Bycatch” prepared by Defra with stakeholder collaboration.
6. Production of a draft mitigation toolkit tailored to regulators and a toolkit tailored to grassroots organizations, following further analysis of available data and using feedback from a second stakeholder workshop.
7. Planning for regional pilot projects for monitoring and trialling mitigation methods, using evidence from the seabird mortality and population impacts reports to guide the locations of these projects.
Project Documents
• TPS - Two Page Summary : ME6024 Two page summary   (240k)
• TRP - Technical Report : ME6024 Preliminary seabird bycatch in UK fisheries April 2020   (1869k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2018

To: 2020

Cost: £232,180
Contractor / Funded Organisations
J N C C (JNCC - Joint Nature Conservation Committee) Support Committee
Environmental Protection