Monitoring Interactions between Irish Fisheries and Protected Species

BIM in association with colleagues from the Marine Institute and other Institutes monitor interactions between Irish fisheries and protected species under Council Regulation (EC) no 812/2004 and the Habitats Directive.

Project aim: Implementation of monitoring requirements

Common dolphin swimming off the Irish coast 

In general interactions are a result of bycatch which consists of
marine mammals, such as dolphins, being captured in fishing gear.

Interactions are also a result of depredation which consists of marine animals damaging or taking the catch from the net.

As part of our ongoing work:

  • We submit an annual report to the European Commission outlining our implementation of monitoring requirements
  • We attend the ICES working group on bycatch of protected species which assesses bycatch information from all EC member states

Our methods: How we monitor bycatch

Monitoring of bycatch of protected species primarily focuses on pelagic trawl and set net fisheries as required under Council Regulation (EC) no 812/2004.

Pelagic trawls

From 2005 to 2011, 703 days of observations were carried out in a range of Irish pelagic trawl fisheries through independent observer programmes, technical trials, fisheries surveys and the data collection framework.

Around 200 of these observed days were undertaken as part of dedicated independent observer programmes commissioned by BIM and conducted by University College Cork and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology.

No cetacean bycatch occurred during the independent observer work while four common dolphins were observed as bycatch as part of a fishery survey conducted in 2006.

Set net fisheries

Between 2005 and 2007 extensive observer work was carried out in set net fisheries resulting in an updated bycatch estimate for porpoises in the Celtic Sea in 2006.

In 2011 and 2012 almost one hundred days were undertaken observing interactions between seals and other protected species and set net fisheries off the south and south west coasts - in gill, tangle and trammel net fisheries. A report on this work is due to be finalised by mid 2013.

Future Plans: Further monitoring

  • Seventy two days of dedicated independent observer work in set net fisheries is planned in 2013
  • Monitoring of bycatch in pelagic trawls will continue as part of the data collection framework, fisheries surveys and technical trials

Further reading

Crab as a resource Read our report on seal depredation and bycatch in set net fisheries in Irish waters

Learn about our trials on pingers and monitoring of bycatch in the Celtic Sea

Contact us

To learn more about this project contact our technical team:
Direct: +353 91 56389

Project data

Read the reports on independent observer work:

Report on the Pilot Observer Programme in Irish Pelagic Trawl Fisheries May 2012 (pdf 6,901Kb)  
Marine Biodiversity Research Group Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology

Pilot observer programme in Irish pelagic trawl and gillnet fisheries March 2011 (pdf 418Kb) 
School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science, University College Cork

Annual implementation

Read the  annual reports on implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 218/2004:

Ireland EC 812_2004 report 2016 (pdf 620Kb) 

Ireland EC 812_2004 report 2015 (pdf 512Kb) 

Ireland EC 812_2004 report 2014 (pdf 110Kb) 

Ireland EC 812_2004 report 2013 (pdf 128Kb) 

Ireland EC 812_2004 report 2012 (pdf 130Kb) 

For older reports contact