Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India

Volume 56 Issue 1

Solving by-catch problems: Successes in developed countries and challenges for protein-poor countries

Steven J Kennelly
doi: 10.6024/jmbai.2014.56.1.01750s-03

One of the world’s most serious and controversial fishing issues is the waste associated with the incidental capture, mortality and discarding of unwanted by-catch. In response to by-catch issues, developments in fishing technology changed focus towards more selective fishing gears under an objective to catch targeted species whilst avoiding unwanted by-catch. In more recent times, this field has expanded to address problems associated with fishing gears (especially dredges and trawls) impacting on habitats and ecosystems. Through a series of case studies, this paper describes the various categories of by-catch issues and how one can go about examining and resolving them. It also summarizes recent developments in the field, including the important development of FAO’s International Guidelines on By-catch Management and Reduction of Discards. A relatively simple framework for ameliorating by-catch issues is described which is comprised of five key steps and has proven to be quite consistent across many examples. Using other case studies summarizing work in Nigeria, Cameroon, Madagascar and the Gaza Strip, this paper also describes some of the complexities associated with the implementation of by-catch reduction practices in protein-poor countries - as compared to the simpler situation in developed countries. It illustrates that the critical need for food security in poor countries goes handin- hand with the need for sustainable fisheries management - but the implementation of the latter in these circumstances is extremely complex and always country-specific. This paper marks a very successful period of achievement in ameliorating some of the most critical problems facing the world’s fisheries.It also outlines how this work has broadened to address other emerging fisheries issues including ecosystem impacts. Finally this paper describes the enormous challenges faced by developing, protein-poor countries as they wrestle with by-catch issues whilst trying to feed the hungry. 


Fishing technology, by-catch, discards, ecosystems, over-exploitation, buyemsellum sector, developing countries.

Date : 15-10-2014