Fisheries bycatch is the principal threat to many marine mammals. In some cases, bycatch reduction devices have been shown to mitigate the bycatch of non-target species, but the scale of the problem outpaces progress in finding solutions. In particular, bycatch in coastal gillnet fisheries is one of the most immediate threats facing many marine mammal species worldwide, including the Gulf of California porpoise (or vaquita, Neophocoena sinus), dugong (Dugong dugon), and Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea).
In October 2011, the Consortium for Wildlife Bycatch Reduction held a workshop to assess the state of the art in gillnet bycatch mitigation techniques, develop recommendatins for best practices, and identify research priorities for the future.
The Consortium invited presentations from experts on the status of marine mammal bycatch in gillnets and mitigation techniques: acoustic deterrents, non-acoustic gear modifications, time-area closures, and gear switching.