Challenges: What solutions would reduce the number of animals dying in fishing nets? How can we monitor fish migration?

Fishing not only provides food but also poses many challenges to biodiversity. The extent of by-catches of seabirds and mammals in fishing gear is still not entirely clear. Nevertheless, one thing is clear: both, birds and seals, are killed in fishing gear. If there is no clear, scientifically-based information, Ministry of Environment cannot assess the status of the populations, and without an assessment, we do not know whether measures to achieve good status are needed. In addition, Klaipeda port is facing the problem of reducing the impact of its activities on fish welfare (especially during their spawning season). All in all, today, the following problems in Lithuania’s aquaculture exists:

  • no mechanism has been established for the removing fallen seabirds and seals (in particular seals due to their weight and size) from the sea and handing them over to scientists;
  • there is no seal accounting system (the same individual may be counted more than once);
  • there is no effective educational program for the fishing community and no attractive mechanism to encourage fishermen to use gear and tools to reduce by-catches of birds and seals and cameras on board in their activities to monitor and better know what has been caught in the gear;
  • a solution that would create a system for monitoring the spawning migration of fish is needed (this system should provide information on how and when fish migrate and what their quantitative distribution over time is).