NOAA seeks public input for National Bycatch Report

NATIONWIDE — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is seeking public input for its next National Bycatch Report update, which was last tweaked in 2016.

NOAA Fisheries, which monitors and manages bycatch and bycatch mortality, released its first National Bycatch Report in 2011 and updated it in 2014 and 2016. Each update provided bycatch estimates of fisheries and specific species. The report, overall, is not required by law but is a useful tool to provide bycatch information and various trends.

“The report and its updates provide a compilation of bycatch information and national and regional overviews to help monitor bycatch trends and set fishery monitoring priorities. They are not, however, used for day-to-day management of fisheries,” NOAA staff stated.

This latest update seeks to determine whether there are any new issues or priorities, as much has evolved with the nation’s fisheries since 2011.

NOAA officials are also reviewing whether improvements to the bycatch report itself are necessary.

The NOAA team suggested the public consider a few questions when crafting feedback:

  • How have you or your organization used the fish or invertebrate estimates of bycatch in the National Bycatch Report and/or its updates?
  • How have you or your organization used other sections of the National Bycatch Report that pertain to fish or invertebrates (e.g., bycatch estimation improvement plans, performance metrics, Tier Classification System)?
  • Have you or your organization used fish or invertebrate bycatch estimates from other sources? If yes, how do these other estimates relate to or differ from the estimates in the National Bycatch Report? How have you used those estimates, and why have you chosen that source instead of the National Bycatch Report?
  • Do you have suggestions for improving how the National Bycatch Report can better depict fish and invertebrate bycatch trends or help set fishery monitoring priorities?
  • Do you have suggestions for improving the estimates of fish and invertebrate bycatch in the National Bycatch Report?
  • What is the most useful way to disseminate bycatch information (e.g., paper report, website, data query tool, etc.)?

Comments must be submitted by Oct. 31, either via email (NMFS.bycatch@NOAA.gov) or regular U.S. Mail (Wendy Morrison, NMFS, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910).

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