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ESR 42:37-57 (2020)  -  DOI:

Getting to the bottom of bycatch: a GIS-based toolbox to assess the risk of marine mammal bycatch

Ellen Hines1,*, Louisa S. Ponnampalam2, Chalatip Junchompoo3, Cindy Peter4, Long Vu5, Thien Huynh6,7, Marjolaine Caillat8, Andrew F. Johnson9,10, Gianna Minton11, Rebecca L. Lewison12, Gregory M. Verutes13,14

1Estuary & Ocean Science Center, and Department of Geography & Environment, San Francisco State University, Tiburon, CA 94920, USA
2The MareCet Research Organization, 47630 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
3Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Chaeng Watthana Road, Lak Si District, Bangkok 10210, Thailand
4Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Jalan Datuk Mohammad Musa, 94300 Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia
5Vietnam Marine Megafauna Network, Center for Biodiversity Conservation and Endangered Species, 24, Street No 13, Lakeview City, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
6Southern Institute of Ecology, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, 01 Mac Dinh Chi, Ben Nghe, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
7Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Kanazawa University, Kakumamachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-1164, Japan
8Environmental Defense Fund, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
9MarFishEco Fisheries Consultants, 67/6 Brunswick Street, Edinburgh EH7 5HT, UK
10The Lyell Centre, Institute of Life and Earth Sciences, School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
11Megaptera Marine Conservation, 2242 PT Wassenaar, The Netherlands
12Department of Biology, San Diego State University, CA 92182, USA
13Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Praza do Obradoiro, 0, 15705 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
14Campus Do*Mar, International Campus of Excellence, 36310 Vigo, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Marine mammal bycatch poses a particular challenge in developing countries, where data to document bycatch and its effects are often lacking. Using the Bycatch Risk Assessment (ByRA) toolkit, based on InVEST open-source models, we chose 4 field sites in Southeast Asia with varying amounts of data on marine mammals and fishing occurrence: Trat province in the eastern Gulf of Thailand, the Sibu-Tinggi Islands and Kuching Bay, Malaysia, and Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve in southwestern Vietnam. These field sites have similar species of coastal marine mammals, small-scale and commercial fisheries, and support for research from universities and/or management. In Thailand and Kuching, results showed changing patterns of fishing and Irrawaddy dolphin Orcaella brevirostris habitat use across seasons, showing how bycatch risk could change throughout the year. Risk maps for dugongs Dugong dugon in peninsular Malaysia highlighted patterns of bycatch risk concentrated around a mainland fishing pier, and revealed high risk in a northern subregion. In Vietnam, first maps of bycatch risk for the Irrawaddy dolphin showed the highest risk driven by intensive use of gillnets and trawling gear. ByRA pinpointed areas of spatial and seasonal bycatch exposure, and estimated the consequence of bycatch on local species, providing managers with critical information on where to focus bycatch mitigation and meet new global standards for US Marine Mammal Protection Act and other international regulation (e.g. Official Journal of the European Union 2019; Regulation 2019/1241) compliance. The toolbox, a transferable open-source tool, can be used to guide fisheries management, marine mammal conservation, spatial planning, and further research.

KEY WORDS: Incidental bycatch · Marine mammals · Spatial risk assessment · Open-source GIS toolkit · Small-scale fisheries · Southeast Asia

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Cite this article as: Hines E, Ponnampalam LS, Junchompoo C, Peter C and others (2020) Getting to the bottom of bycatch: a GIS-based toolbox to assess the risk of marine mammal bycatch. Endang Species Res 42:37-57.

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