Update on the Bycatch Mitigation Information System (BMIS) by Larissa Fitzsimmons
Update on the Bycatch Mitigation Information System (BMIS)
Access the BMIS at http://bmis.wcpfc.int/index.php
Development of the WCPFC's BMIS continues in 2011. Some of the recent changes are as follows:
Since February this year the BMIS website has been hosted on the WCPFC web server (it was previously hosted by SPC - the Secretariat of the Pacific Community). A traffic analysis tool has been embedded in the website. This means that the number of visitors to the site, the countries where visits originate and the number of return visits by individual users can be tracked. It is possible to see how often different pages within the site are being viewed and for how long (on average) visitors stay at the site. For example, in May 2011, 159 people visited the site, with 238 visits overall and visitors came from 35 different countries. Additionally, details of how visitors found the site, e.g. whether by organic Google search (including what search terms they used), referral from the WCPFC or SPC websites, or directly to the web address, are recorded.
Another change to the website has been the addition of an RSS feed to the home page. By clicking on the icon, visitors to the site can look for notice of important updates to the BMIS or read interesting bycatch news.
Numerous minor updates have been made to the website, including the addition of new links and modified text.
References and Literature Searches
More than 250 references touching on ways to mitigate bycatch of seabirds, sea turtles and sharks have been entered in the database. An automated system of journal contents alerts and Google alerts has been set up as a means of keeping abreast of relevant literature. Google alerts also provide information on what is happening in the media and advertising e.g. the Greenpeace campaign on FADs and developments in magnetic shark repellent products.
Descriptions of mitigation methods
Developing descriptions, or reviews, of techniques to reduce bycatch is a time consuming task that will be accomplished by February 2012 for all mitigation methods mentioned in the BMIS. In light of new reference material, some existing descriptions need updating e.g. FADs (ecological FADs). The description for 'Smart Hooks' has been significantly revised.
Promotion and Feedback
An article will be published in the next SPC Fisheries newsletter, due out in June. About 750 copies of the newsletter are printed and distributed around the Pacific. In addition, around 660 people/ organisations are advised by email that a .pdf version of the newsletter is ready to be downloaded from the SPC website. It is hoped that this will generate a few hits to the website. Site 'traffic analysis' will be reviewed after the newsletter is published.
SPC has hosted several workshops this year. Participants have been advised of the existence of the BMIS and asked to comment.
Emails have been sent to a list of academic and industry contacts to briefly outline the BMIS, request comment and to ask that they forward the information to those they think might be interested. More emails will be sent in coming months. Records are being kept of recipients and feedback (details include name, date received, organisation, full comment, summary of feedback for consideration or action and a note of whether comment has been addressed). Some pleasing and constructive feedback has been received.
An Information Paper will be submitted for the August Scientific Committee meeting in Pohnpei (SC7). The paper will include an analysis of website traffic and a summary of feedback.
A BMIS training module has been developed. It will be presented for the first time at the June 27th Ecosystem and Bycatch workshop in Noumea. Participants will include fisheries managers from around the WCPO. It is hoped that feedback from workshop participants will help to inform the development of a 'User Help' section in the database.
A BMIS Factsheet will be finalised by year's end. It will be available via the website but also, it will be distributed at observer and other workshops, and sent to WCPO fisheries officers.
We welcome your feedback on the BMIS. Comments can be sent via the website "contact us" link or email email@example.com