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NMFS rolls out new National Bycatch Reduction Strategy; Proposed rule sets SBRM requirement

SILVER SPRING, MD –  NOAA Fisheries (NMFS) has rolled out a new National Bycatch Reduction Strategy that it says will help move forward in its mission to promote productive and sustainable fisheries.

The strategy calls for monitoring and estimating bycatch, researching new ways to reduce it through bycatch reduction engineering, enforcement of bycatch laws and regulations, and reevaluating the programs in place.

“The United States is doing a good job of managing our fisheries in a sustainable and resilient way,” said Jennie Lyons, NMFS spokesperson.

“Our fisheries are the gold standard and a world model of success, largely due to the robust, science-based, approaches.  But NOAA and our partners are still always looking for ways to improve and this strategy reflects our commitment to doing just that.”

There have been a lot of changes in the 13 years since the agency convened the National Working Group on Bycatch, a team of NMFS scientists and fisheries managers that developed fishery-specific recommendations after reviewing the nation’s 84 fisheries and over 100 species of harvested fish.

The results of that work,”Evaluating Bycatch: A National Approach to Standardized Bycatch Monitoring Programs,” released in 2004, still provides guidance to regional fishery councils and fishery managers today.

“As an agency, we’re always reviewing our program,” said Karen Abrams, NOAA Fisheries Branch Chief for Ecosystems for the Domestic Fisheries Division.

Many of the recommendations in the 2003 National Bycatch Strategy have been accomplished, she said, and there have been other changes such as…

 

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