Final Products and Public Webinar from the Marine Mammal Bycatch Working Group

Thanks to all who were able to join the round table discussion with our Marine Mammal Bycatch Working Group to learn about their main findings and final products on how to assess and manage marine mammal bycatch. All Working Group products are linked below and the event recording is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMX_fggxpw4

Final Products of the Marine Mammal Bycatch Working Group:

Open access Special Research Topic issue of Frontiers in Marine Science on Assessment Approaches to Support Bycatch Management for Marine Mammals (edited by Working Group members André Punt, Jeff Moore, Randall Reeves, and Tessa Francis).

Call for Special Issue Research Papers

In collaboration with Frontier in Marine Science, the Ocean Modeling Forum Marine Mammal Working Group is soliciting articles related to assessment approaches to support bycatch management for marine mammals.

We are especially interested in examples of novel field and analytical methods for estimating abundance and bycatch and for calculating conservation reference points that can be used to prioritize and guide mitigation strategies are particularly welcome. We are looking for contributions that offer creative assessment solutions for regions with limited or no data and where funding for monitoring is hard to come by, or in which governance, logistical or other challenges make conventional approaches to assessment impractical. We also welcome case studies on assessment of marine mammal bycatch and resulting mitigation outcomes.

Please refer to the full announcement, here.

Marine Mammal Bycatch Mitigation ShinyApp is live!

The marine mammal bycatch mitigation ShinyApp is live! This ShinyApp was created by Dr. Margaret Siple as part of the Marine Mammal Working Group. It shows population projections under different bycatch mortality levels, based on information you provide. You can also use it to calculate the parameters for Potential Biological Removal (PBR). View the ShinyApp here.

OMF’s Herring Working Group featured in University of Washington News Feature Article

A new UW news article, features a paper written by the Ocean Modeling Forum’s (OMF’s) Herring working group (lead author Alec MacCall). The paper features a herring behavioral strategy where juvenile fish “go with the older fish” back to spawning locations, a behavior that is understood in traditional knowledge as well as explored in previous scientific studies. MacCall’s paper explores the consequences of this behavior, including disproportionate impacts, including extinction, on some spawning locations under fishing pressure. The paper is one of many by the OMF working group, which focused on advice for managing herring fisheries that accounts for the importance of herring spawning locations to indigenous communities, and on including traditional knowledge in mathematical models.

OMF visits Haida Gwaii

The Ocean Modeling Forum has been engaging since 2014 with a diverse group of stakeholders and scientists from Alaska and British Columbia, focused on improving herring fisheries sustainability. Together we have developed approaches and tools to assess the impacts of herring fisheries on the diverse benefits provided by herring and herring harvest activities to communities, economies, and the ecosystem.

Herring roe harvest. Photo by Ian McAllister/Pacific Wild

In January 2019, OMF herring team members Phil Levin, Tessa Francis, and Melissa Poe were invited to Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, to provide advice on the development of a herring rebuilding plan for Haida Gwaii herring. Leading the development of the rebuilding plan is a technical group formed of representatives from the Council of Haida Nations (CHN), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), and Parks Canada. The OMF team shared our work with the rebuilding plan technical group, as well as with the Archipelago Management Board, a collaborative group comprised of CHN and Parks Canada representatives who collectively manage the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site.

We shared models and approaches developed by the OMF team for use in supporting herring fisheries management decisions. One model incorporates traditional ecological knowledge about herring migration behavior, and shows that populations with this behavior are more likely to suffer fast and long-lasting local extinctions under fishing. We shared a novel spatial stock assessment model that more accurately reflects the population structure of herring, for potential use in a management strategy evaluation being undertaken as part of the herring rebuilding plan. And we shared a process for selection of human wellbeing objectives for marine ecosystems, based on anthropological and traditional knowledge studies, that can be used when evaluating trade-offs of alternative management strategies.

Herring eggs on algae

The OMF team plans to remain engaged in the herring rebuilding plan process, supporting the technical team and providing tools and advice as needed. More information about the herring tools and products can be found on the working group home page.

The Ocean Modeling Forum is a University of Washington program that helps managers, scientists, and the ocean community use models to take on complex ocean issues. Major funding comes from the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Lenfest Ocean Program.

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