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Development of management options to mitigate harbour porpoise bycatch in Special Areas of Conservation - ME6014

Options for mitigation of cetacean bycatch include the use of pingers, gear modifications, use of alternative gears or exclusion of relevant gears through closed areas/seasons. The standard mitigation usually advocated is the use of pingers which are attached to fishing gear and emit sound that scares porpoises away from the net. The use of pingers as a bycatch mitigation measure is already required on static nets deployed by vessels >12m in length in specified areas and seasons through EU Regulation 812/2004.

Evidence is needed to be better understand the impacts of pinger deployment and to explore alternatives (in this case closed areas) to enable SNCBs to prepare advice for Regulators. This project will look at two scales :
1. within SACs: An evaluation of the area of disturbance from pingers when deployed under a variety of scenarios.
2. Within Management Units: An evaluation of the impact of closed areas on bycatch
Contractors have been requested by Regulators to create harbour porpoise site specific advice in relation to bycatch. This work will deliver:

- Predictions of the amount of space / time from which porpoises would be excluded by pinger type. Contractors will interpret this output in light of the draft noise guidance and Conservation Objectives for the sites.
- An assessment of the likely net benefit of pinger deployment in the SACs. Contractors will use this output to inform drafting of fisheries management options for the SACs.
- Assessment of the value of closed areas for mitigation of bycatch. Contractors will use this output to inform drafting of fisheries management options for the SACs.
- Evidence on which management options for harbour porpoise SACs can be established.
- Workshop with stakeholders to present the outputs from the work and discuss/develop management options. Attendees will include SNCBs, Regulators, NGOs and industry.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : ME6014 Coram & Northridge - Bycatch and Mitigation Approaches in Harbour Porpoise Special Areas of Conservation   (1599k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2017

To: 2018

Cost: £47,345
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Sea Mammal Research Unit
Marine Mammels