WCPFC launches all-new Bycatch Management Information System (BMIS) web portal - 5 May in Pohnpei

On the eve of two major fisheries meetings for the Eastern and Western Pacific, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Management Commission (WCPFC), with funding from the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project, has launched an all-new web portal for exploring past and present efforts to tackle critical bycatch issues. The Bycatch Management Information System (BMIS) will be presented to participants in the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission’s Scientific Advisory Committee (IATTC-SAC) in San Diego and the Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC) in Canberra, both meeting from 8-12 May 2017.

Bycatch in tuna fisheries is the collateral damage that is caused by fishing gear to non-target species such as seabirds, sea turtles, marine mammals and sharks. In many cases these species are already severely threatened from a variety of activities, creating an urgent need to manage and mitigate impacts from fishing. Streamer lines that deter seabirds, leader materials that allow sharks to bite through, and baits and hooks that are less likely to attract and injure sea turtles are currently deployed in some fisheries. How well do these mitigation measures work in practice? Are the mortality rates now low enough to allow bycatch populations to be sustained? Unfortunately, these questions remain largely unanswered in tuna fisheries and there are no universal quick fixes in sight.

Now enhanced with an engaging, user-friendly interface, today’s new launch of the BMIS allows searching of over 1000 curated references by species group, fishing gear or mitigation technique, and provides pointers to species identification and safe release guides. The new BMIS also helps users--ranging from scientists to managers to fishers to the general public--explore management options by linking to information on interaction rates and population status. A built-in blog feature, ‘Bycatch Bytes’, provides an easy way to keep up-to-date on the latest developments in bycatch reduction.

Learn about the issues and help find solutions by exploring the all-new BMIS at www.bmis-bycatch.org. Additional content will be coming online through late 2018 including databases, maps and shark tagging meta-data. User contributions in the form of information and feedback are always welcome and can be sent to the BMIS Coordinator at info@bmis-bycatch.org.

The BMIS has been developed for the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Management Commission (WCPFC) by the Pacific Community (SPC) with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) under the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). This Project harnesses the efforts of a large and diverse array of partners, including the five tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), governments, inter- and non- governmental organizations, and the private sector to achieve responsible, efficient and sustainable tuna production and biodiversity conservation.

For additional information, contact:

  • Dr Shelley Clarke, Common Oceans Tuna Project Technical Coordinator-Sharks and Bycatch | shelley.clarke@wcpfc.int  
  • Mr Alejandro Anganuzzi, Global Coordinator for the Common Oceans Tuna Project | alejandro.anganuzzi@fao.org 
News Item Updated 1 Jul, 2017
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