About this Research Topic
Fisheries bycatch poses the greatest direct threat to vulnerable species of marine megafauna, such as marine mammals and turtles, seabirds, elasmobranchs and non-target fish. Historically, bycatch has been addressed by direct regulation through the application of technology standards (prescribed conditions on gear and equipment and fishing operations), performance standards (prescribed limits on outcomes such as quotas or limits on bycatch or habitat), or process standards (such as limits on effort including time and area). Bycatch-reducing technological change, which reduces the bycatch to target catch ratio, forms a cornerstone to bycatch management. As the limits to direct regulation become ever more apparent, attention is turning to how to induce bycatch-saving technological change, intrinsic motivation (such as altruism, social norms), and to extrinsic motivation or incentive (market)-based approaches. Recently, human behavioral science, social learning, animal behavior, and culture in response to fishing and bycatch, and the interactions of conservation based upon social norms, voluntary initiatives, and economic incentives have entered into the mix. Incentive (market)-based approaches to mitigate adverse environmental, resource, and biodiversity impacts have been widely applied to other environmental, resource, and conservation issues, including pollution, water, forestry, mining, terrestrial conservation, energy conservation, and climate change. The direct and incentive-based regulation that directs or induces bycatch reducing technological change, more broadly a form of induced or directed technological change, has also been extensively applied. The lessons learned from conservation and regulation in these other contexts and bycatch experiences from around the globe can inform bycatch reduction and more generally marine biodiversity conservation. This Research topic communicates the results of studies initiated in 2016 at a workshop to develop novel insights to multidisciplinary approaches to bycatch mitigation held at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) in Sète, France. The Research topic aims to address bycatch mitigation within a multi-disciplinary framework that integrates (1) the fundamentals of ecology and conservation biology, which provide understanding of ecosystems, species behavior, and life history, with (2) the insights for use of intrinsic motivation, direct regulation (application of standards), and incentive-based policies from the conservation experience of fisheries, terrestrial conservation of flora and fauna, pollution control, energy, forestry, water usage and conservation, climate change, and utilization of other environmental resources, with (3) the lessons learned about bycatch reducing technological change and directed technological change in other environmental issues, and with (4), a systematic assessment of bycatch case studies from around the globe. We welcome submissions from participants and collaborators in the Sète Working Group, and additional contributions that address the broad conceptual framework and elements described above and provide case studies that can be applied to marine biodiversity conservation in general and fisheries bycatch and habitat degradation in particular.
Keywords: Conservation, Megafauna, Bycatch, Mitigation, Fisheries
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