Marine Mammal Bycatch Risk Assessment in Chile

Fishing boat

Over the last decade, the Chilean government has taken steps to better understand marine mammal abundance, bycatch occurrence, and critical knowledge gaps to prioritize resources and build capacity to sustain marine mammal populations. In January 2020, Dr. Ellen Hines with the Estuary & Ocean Science Center at San Francisco State University, and Dr. Maritza Sepúlveda with the Universidad de Valparaíso, met with government officials at the Subsecretaría de Pesca y Acuicultura - Undersecretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture (SUBPESCA) and Instituto de Fomento Pesquero - Fisheries Development Institute (IFOP) offices to discuss research questions that could help fill knowledge gaps and identify bycatch risk in Chilean fisheries.

For this project, the Lenfest Ocean Program is supporting Dr. Hines and Dr. Sepúlveda as they continue this work to bring together a team of experts to collaborate with the Chilean government, fisheries agencies, and local scientists to conduct a bycatch risk assessment for Chilean fisheries. Using the Bycatch Risk Assessment (ByRA) toolbox- a geographic information systems-based toolbox that can generate visualizations of bycatch risk using any amount or type of data- the research team will work with scientists, managers, and the fishing community to identify areas with bycatch risk along the Chilean coast and develop recommendations for future data collection and mitigation strategies to decrease bycatch mortality.

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