Observing incidental harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena bycatch by remote electronic monitoring

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Quantification of marine mammal bycatch is important in relation to conservation and management of protected species. Hitherto, using onboard observers has been the most reliable and accurate method but observer programs can be prohibitively expensive. To investigate the potential of CCTV cameras to document bycatch of marine mammals, 6 Danish commercial gillnetters (10 to15 m in length) operating under the Danish catch quota management system were equipped with Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) systems. The REM systems provided video footage, time and position of all net hauls and bycatches of marine mammals. Comparisons between REM results and fishers logbooks showed that the REM system gave more reliable results, since fishers in many cases did not observe the bycatch while working on the deck because the bycatch dropped out of the net before coming on board. Furthermore, very high coverage percentages at low cost, compared to onboard observers, could be obtained with REM. Alternative means of conducting the video analysis were tested; they were however, found not to be very efficient
Original languageEnglish
JournalEndangered Species Research
Pages (from-to)75-83
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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