Seal mitigation measures on trawl vessels fishing for krill in CCAMLR Subarea 48.3
At the 2004 meeting of the Working Group on Ecosystem Monitoring and Management (WG-EMM) in Siena, Italy, the UK reported on the by-catch of fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) in the krill fishery around South Georgia, and on mitigation methods that were being developed and deployed to avoid fur seal deaths in the fishery. WG-EMM requested that the UK provide further details of the methods employed for consideration by the ad hoc Working Group on Incidental Mortality Arising from Fishing (WG-IMAF). Three CCAMLR international scientific observers recorded mitigation measures for fur seal entanglements on krill vessels fishing around South Georgia in the 2004 fishing season. The measures implemented were based on four approaches: physical barrier, barrier plus escape hatch, manufactured seal-exclusion devices and gear configuration. Those vessels initially without mitigation measures were able to introduce them without further cost and minimal disruption to fishing activity during the season. These approaches, aimed at reducing seal entanglements, are similar to the two systems implemented by Japanese vessels during the 2003 krill fishing season around South Georgia (Japan Deep Sea Trawlers Association, 2004).