In 2008 the FAO presented the “Best Practice Technical Guidelines for IPOA/NPOA-Seabirds”. The European Commission (EC), in fulfilment of its responsibilities as a contracting party of international organisations acting in the context of the FAO’s IPOA, is committed to develop a plan of action to reduce the incidental catches of seabirds in fishing gear. Recent advice from ICES has identified a number of primary areas and fisheries within the EU responsible for seabird mortalities resulting from interactions with fishing gear. Lack of information remains a major constraint to understanding the effects that incidental fishing mortality has on seabird populations, but the information available to date highlights where management action must be taken.

The objective of this study is to assess existing mitigation measures and their effectiveness in key geographical incidental seabird mortality hotspots, and by working closely with the fishing industry, make recommendations for best practice mitigation measures for the fleets operating in those areas. The study will also provide an assessment of the associated costs and potential benefits of these recommended mitigation measures and the socio-economic and environmental impacts of their use in the fisheries concerned, to enable informed decision making.

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