Project Description

Location: Worldwide

Primary stakeholders: National and local policy makers, fishers, private sector, NGOs, researchers

Sector/industry: Fisheries

Primary extractive or damaging activities: Overfishing, via targeted and by-catch fisheries

Affected ecosystem(s) and biodiversity: Oceans, sharks and rays (though can also be applied to other marine megafauna)

Goal: Healthy populations of sharks and rays

Metric(s): e.g. total fishing mortality, catch/bycatch per unit effort, population growth rate (can be adapted to context)

Mitigation & Conservation actions: Existing fisheries management measures for reducing shark mortality – such as spatio-temporal closures, gear restrictions, and retention bans with live release – can be organised within the four steps under the mitigation pathway. Conservation actions which occur independently of fisheries impacts, such as establishing large marine reserves and proactively restoring habitat, fall under the four steps of the conservation pathway. See four steps diagram below for details.

Stage of implementation and associated outcomes: concept phase – this case study is primarily conceptual, and has yet to be applied in practice

Needs and next steps: Applications of the Mitigation & Conservation Hierarchy in the marine realm remain limited. Example are need to further explore how these concepts can be operationalised to achieve no net loss of marine biodiversity in practice.

Key References and Resources: 

  • Booth et al. (2019) illustrate how the Mitigation & Conservation Hierarchy could be applied to a range of species, fisheries and contexts.
  • Gupta et al. (2020) explore the technical effectiveness and socio-economic feasibility of different steps of the Mitigation & Conservation Hierarchy for managing elasmobranch bycatch in small-scale trawlers in India

This research has been supported by a Pew Marine Fellowship for Prof. EJ Milner-Gulland, and an Oxford-NaturalMotion Graduate Scholarship for Hollie Booth.