IWDG Tender: Review of Commercial Fishing in Cetacean SACs

11th May 2011 IWDG Tender

Review of Commercial Fishing in Cetacean SACs

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) is a registered charity dedicated to the conservation and better understanding of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoise) in Irish waters through study, education and interpretation. The IWDG feel protecting important cetacean habitat is critical to protecting cetaceans in Ireland and elsewhere and entanglement in fishing gear and over fishing are considered among the most important threats to cetaceans worldwide. However resource competition, especially for commercial fish species is an issue receiving more interest under the concept of ecosystem approach to fisheries management.

The IWDG produce policy documents to inform policies and plans and promote best practice. As part of an attempt to explore the role of Marine Protected Areas in Ireland the IWDG wish to commission a review of commercial fishing in Special Areas of Conservation in Ireland.

The objective of Special Areas of Conservation designation is to protect certain vulnerable species and there habitats. To date there are three areas in Ireland designated as candidate Special Areas of Conservation (cSAC) for cetaceans. These are Roaringwater Bay, Co Cork (Site Code 101) and Blasket Islands, Co Kerry (Site Code 2172) for harbour porpoise and Lower River Shannon (Shannon Estuary) (Site Code 2165) for bottlenose dolphins.

The IWDG wishes to invite tenders, from suitably qualified consultancies and individuals, to conduct a review of commercial fishing activity in the three Irish cetaceans SACs. This review will contribute to a policy document on the management of SACs for cetaceans.

The review should address the following:

1. Review and mapping of current available data collected on commercial fishing activity within Irish SACs by utilizing available data sources such as:

a. VMS Data.

b. Visual sightings by air corps, naval and SFPA patrols.

c. Landings data.

d. Interviews/Questionnaires of fishermen.

2. Quantify the extent of fishing effort in, and adjacent to, the three cetacean cSACs stratified by:

a. Vessel size and horsepower

b. Gear type

c. Fishing season

d. Distribution of fishing effort within SAC

e. Biomass of fish landed from SACs

f. Species targeted within SACs

g. Targeting of fishing gear by cetaceans.

3. Make recommendations as to potential management options to be considered to limit the impacts of commercial fishing on SAC's and in particular to reduce cetacean/fisheries interactions in terms of habitat use, species targeted, bycatch and predation by cetaceans on fishing gear.

All prices should be exclusive of VAT and include expenses, subsistence and overheads. Tenderers should make provision for one journey to Kilrush, Co. Clare to discuss findings with the IWDG.

All tenders should be sent to simon.berrow@iwdg.ie by 20 May 2011.