Target 6: Fisheries and hunting have no significant direct or indirect adverse impacts on migratory species, their habitats or their migration routes, and impacts of fisheries and hunting are within safe ecological limits.


Anthropogenic Impact


►    The CMS COP Resolution 9.18 (2008) on By-catch includes:

1) Invites Parties to improve reporting of by-catch information and data in their CMS National Reports, or via their reports to CMS daughter Agreements, particularly on by-catch mitigation methods that have proved to be effective;

2) Urges Parties that have not already done so, to implement the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s International Plan of Action (FAO IPOA) for Reducing the Impacts of Longline Fisheries on Seabirds, IPOA for the Conservation and Management of Sharks and the FAO Guidelines to reduce sea turtle mortality in fishing operations, and to develop and implement national plans of action as required by the IPOAs;

3) Strongly encourages Parties, through their participation in relevant fora, for example through regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs), to raise the serious and ongoing problem of by-catch of migratory species, especially as it refers to seabirds, sharks, marine turtles and marine mammals, with a view to improving mitigation measures for the reduction of by-catch as well as improving data collection through, inter alia, independent observer programmes;

4) Encourages Parties to apply appropriate fisheries management measures to mitigate bycatch of migratory species; and

5) Further encourages Parties to provide financial and technical support to developing countries for the mitigation of by-catch of species listed on the appendices of CMS, focussing on work with indigenous and local communities that depend on fisheries for their livelihoods.

►    The CMS COP Resolution 10.14 (2011) on By-catch of CMS-listed species in gillnet fisheries includes:

3) Further notes and encourages Parties to implement the best practice approach and procedures outlined in the 1999 FAO International Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries (IPOA-Seabirds) and its related Best Practices Technical Guidelines, the 1999 FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA-Sharks), the 2009 FAO Guidelines to Reduce Sea Turtle Mortality in Fishing Operations and the 2011 FAO International Guidelines on Bycatch Management and Reduction of Discards;

4) Urges Parties to assess the risk of bycatch arising from their gillnet fisheries, as it relates to migratory species, including by using observer programmes and/or other methods, where appropriate, to implement best practice mitigation measures and to review regularly the effectiveness of their implementation of mitigation measures with a view to refining them if required;

5) Encourages Parties to conduct research to identify and improve mitigation measures, including use of alternative fishing gear and methods, to avoid or reduce bycatch where feasible, and subsequently promote their use and implementation;

6) Encourages stakeholders to consult experts on all taxa concerned to consider the potential effects on aquatic mammals, seabirds, marine turtles and sharks when choosing mitigation measures;

7) Further encourages all stakeholders to make full use of CMS agreements related to aquatic species and the particular expertise available within them related to bycatch of the taxonomic groups they deal with;

8) Further encourages Parties and invites other governments, fisheries and fisheries-related organizations and the private sector to facilitate collection of species-specific bycatch data and to share such data wherever possible;

9) Requests Parties to provide available information, including the results of bycatch risk assessments or mitigation research, to the Scientific Council to allow the Scientific Council, upon request from one or several Parties, to identify and provide advice to them on best practice mitigation techniques for each particular circumstance;

10) Requests the Secretariat, the Scientific Council and Parties to continue and increase efforts to collaborate with other relevant international fora and where appropriate the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), with a view to avoiding duplication, increasing synergies and raising the profile of CMS and CMS agreements related to aquatic species in these fora;

12) Further instructs the Scientific Council to develop terms of reference for studies identifying the degree of interaction between gillnet fisheries and CMS-listed species, as well as identifying for each particular situation the most effective mitigation techniques, which should build upon and complement existing initiatives within the fisheries sector; and

13) Calls upon Parties and invites other governments, partner organizations and the private sector to provide voluntary contributions for the execution of these follow-up reviews and to finance independent research on the effectiveness and further improvement of mitigation measures.

►    The CMS COP Resolution 11.22 (2014) on Live captures of cetaceans from the wild for commercial purposes includes:

1) Invites Parties that have not already done so to develop and implement national legislation, as appropriate, prohibiting the live capture of cetaceans from the wild for commercial purposes;

2) Urges Parties to consider taking stricter measures in line with CITES Article XIV with regard to the import and international transit of live cetaceans for commercial purposes that have been captured in the wild;

3) Requests the Secretariat and the Scientific Council to seek to enhance cooperation and collaboration with CITES and the IWC on small cetacean species targeted by live captures from the wild;

4) Calls on Parties to support and, where appropriate and possible, contribute to cooperation and collaboration with CITES and IWC on small cetacean species targeted by live captures from the wild;

5) Urges Parties and encourages Parties or Signatories to relevant CMS instruments and non-Party States to actively discourage new live captures from the wild for commercial purposes; and

6) Encourages Parties to share data and information on live captures with the IWC and other appropriate fora.

Note: Reports of the following ASCOBANS workshops, brought to the attention of the ASCOBANS MOP, contain relevant recommendations:

►   Expert workshop on the requirements of legislation to address monitoring and mitigation of small cetacean bycatch;

►   Workshop on the further development of management procedures for defining the threshold of ‘unacceptable interactions’ - Part I Developing a shared understanding on the use of thresholds / environmental limits.

►    Recommendations of ASCOBANS on the Requirements of Legislation to Address Monitoring and Mitigation of Small Cetacean Bycatch

►    Workshop on remote electronic monitoring with regards to bycatch of small cetaceans

►    The CMS COP Resolution 11.15 (2011) adopted the Guidelines to Prevent Risk of Poisoning to Migratory Birds includes:

1) Phase-out the use of lead ammunition across all habitats (wetland and terrestrial) with non-toxic alternatives within the next three years with Parties reporting to Conference of the Parties (CoP12) in 2017, working with stakeholders on implementation; promotion of leadership from ammunition-users on safe alternatives, and remediation of lead-polluted sites where appropriate; and

2) Phase-out the use of lead fishing weights in areas where migratory birds have been shown to be particularly at risk i.e. freshwater habitats, (excluding fishing weights used in coastal areas where there are significant knowledge gaps and further research needed) with non-toxic alternatives, within the next three years with Parties reporting to the Conference of the Parties (CoP12) in 2017, working with all stakeholders on implementation; and promotion of leadership from fishers on safe alternatives.

►    The CMS COP Resolution 11.16 (2011) on The Prevention of Illegal Killing, Taking, and Trade of Migratory Birds includes:

1) Calls on Parties, non-Parties and other stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations, to engage in immediate cooperation to address the illegal killing, taking and trade of migratory birds through support of, and collaboration with, existing international initiatives and mechanisms to address these issues, as well as establishing (as appropriate and where added value can be assured) Task Forces targeted at facilitating concerted action to eliminate illegal killing, taking and trade of shared populations of migratory birds in those areas where such problems are prevalent.

►   The Work Plan for the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee and Secretariat 2017-2020 and Strategic Plan for Migratory Species 2015-2023 attached in Annex 1 to   ASCOBANS Resolution 8.2.

►   ASCOBANS Resolution 8.3 on the Revision of the Recovery Plan for Baltic Harbour Porpoises includes:

9) Encourages Parties and invites non-Party Range States to nominate fisheries and environment experts to the Jastarnia Group and enable them to participate regularly in this working group, which is to be composed of representatives from the environment and fisheries sectors of the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea.

►    ASCOBANS Resolution 8.4 on the Conservation of Common Dolphins includes:

1a)Continue work towards establishing a management framework procedure for bycatch in order to enable specified conservation objectives to be met;

1d) Coordinate their bycatch monitoring programmes to allow assessment of the population bycatch rate;

1e) Apply appropriate bycatch mitigation strategies for all high-and medium-risk fisheries;

1g) Monitor health and nutritional status, reproductive parameters, pollutant burdens, and causes of mortality using samples and data collected from stranding and bycatch monitoring programmes.

►    ASCOBANS Resolution 8.5 on the Monitoring and Mitigation of Small Cetacean Bycatch includes:

3) Requests Parties and calls upon non-Party Range States to ensure (by species and management unit) that:

a) Monitoring programmes ensure robust estimation of cetacean bycatch for all relevant fisheries (this may include for different vessel sizes and through dedicated observers, remote electronic monitoring, rapid bycatch assessment methods and other measures as appropriate); and

b) Appropriate technical and other measures to mitigate cetacean bycatch are developed, implemented and evaluated (this may include alternative fishing methods that are ecologically sustainable, pingers not audible to seals and alerting devices proven to be effective for appropriate mitigation, or gear-exchange schemes aiming at reducing bycatch).

4. Calls upon Parties:

a) To work closely with the fishing sector in order to make use of its valuable knowledge and expertise to jointly tackle the issue of bycatch;

b) To make available their implementation reports on EU legislation regarding cetacean bycatch to ASCOBANS as part of their national reports;

c) To facilitate the provision of dead bycaught animals for scientific research purposes; and

d) To allocate the necessary funding for bycatch related issues in national and  European financial planning and support schemes, including through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

►   ASCOBANS Resolution 8.9 on Managing Cumulative Anthropogenic Impacts in the Marine Environment includes:

5e) Requiring, where available, the use of alternative and/or new technologies to avoid negative impacts, including technologies that mitigate bycatch or reduce noise emissions during   seismic surveys and wind farm construction.


Note: The following planned Resolutions are expected to include relevant measures:

►    CMS Scientific Council Report on Bycatch

►    CMS Scientific Council Report on Aquatic bushmeat


Aquatic Species


►    The Memorandum of Understanding for the conservation of cetaceans and their habitats in the Pacific Islands Region: Whale and Dolphin Action Plan 2013-2017 includes:

Theme 3 - Threat Reduction:

Objective 1 - Minimize the impacts of the major hazards listed below on whale and dolphin populations in the Pacific Islands region:

3.1) Collaborate to improve data and share information on fisheries/cetaceans interactions, and successful and unsuccessful tactics for mitigation.

3.3) Take actions to ensure a favourable conservation status of affected whale and dolphin species.

3.4) Ensure compliance with all relevant international regulations and conventions/agreements.

►    The Conservation and Management Plan for Marine Turtles of the Atlantic coast of Africa includes:

Objective 1 - Reduce direct and indirect causes of marine turtle mortality:

1.3) Minimize the effects of artisanal and commercial fisheries on marine turtles.

1.3.2) Develop/modify and use gear, devices, techniques and other measures to minimize incidental capture of marine turtles in fisheries, including turtle release and resuscitation techniques and spatio-temporal fishery closures;

1.3.3) Develop procedures and training programs to promote implementation of these measures, such as vessel monitoring systems and inspections at sea, in port and at landing sites, and national on-board observer programs with relevant fishery management organisations;

1.3.6) Support the UN General Assembly resolution 46/215 concerning the moratorium on the use of large-scale driftnets on the high seas;

1.3.7) Develop and implement net retention and recycling schemes to minimise the disposal of fishing gear at sea and on beaches;

1.3.8) Provide and ensure the use of port facilities for the disposal of ship-borne waste; and

1.3.9) Assess potential impacts of Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated fishing (IUU) on marine turtle populations.

1.8) Prohibit the direct harvest (capture or killing) of, and domestic trade in, marine turtles, their eggs, parts or products, whilst allowing exceptions for traditional harvest by communities within each jurisdiction provided that: such harvest does not undermine efforts to protect, conserve and recover marine turtle populations and their habitats; and the marine turtle populations in question are able to sustain the harvest.

►    The Conservation and Management Plan of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Marine Turtles and their Habitats of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia (IOSEA Marine Turtle MoU) includes:

Objective 1 - Reduce direct and indirect causes of marine turtle mortality:

1.4.a) Develop and use gear, devices and techniques to minimise incidental capture of marine turtles in fisheries, such as devices that effectively allow the escape of marine turtles, and spatial and seasonal closures.

1.4.d) Liaise and coordinate with fisheries industries and fisheries management organisations to develop and implement incidental capture mitigation mechanisms in national waters and on the high seas.

1.4.f) Develop and implement net retention and recycling schemes to minimise the disposal of fishing gear at sea and on beaches.

1.5.a) Enact, where not already in place, legislation to prohibit direct harvest and domestic trade.

1.5.b) Assess the level and impact of traditional harvest on marine turtles and their eggs.

1.5.c) Establish management programmes that may include limits on levels of intentional harvest.

1.5.e) Negotiate, where appropriate, management agreements on the sustainable level of traditional harvest, in consultation with other concerned States, to ensure that such harvest does not undermine conservation efforts.

►    The Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Dugongs (Dugon dugong) and their Habitats throughout their Range (Dugong MoU) includes:

Objective 1 – Reduce direct and indirect causes of dugong mortality:

1.1) Identify, assess and evaluate the threats to dugong populations and develop appropriate measures to address these threats.

1.2) Reduce to the greatest extent practicable the incidental capture and mortality of dugongs in the course of fishing activities.

1.4) Reduce to the greatest extent practicable the illegal take of dugong.

1.5) Ensure that subsistence and customary use of dugong is sustainable in areas where it is permitted.

Objective 2 – Improve our understanding of dugong through research and monitoring:

2.3) Collect and analyse data that supports the identification of sources of mortality, the mitigation of threats and improved approaches to conservation practices.

►    The Memorandum of Understanding concerning the conservation of the Manatee and small cetaceans of Western Africa and Macaronesia - Action Plan for the Conservation of small cetaceans of Western Africa and Macaronesia includes:

Theme 3 - Ecosystem and Habitat Protection:

Objective 1 - Minimise the ecological impact of fisheries on small cetaceans by using the ecosystem approach to fisheries:

3.1.1) Convene a workshop on potential intergovernmental approaches to reducing effects of fisheries on small-cetacean populations of the African Eastern Atlantic Basin.

3.1.2) Promote responsible fishing practices, also taking into account food chain impacts and other fisheries interactions, and enforce existing regulations for sustainable ecosystem management.

3.1.3) Provide alternative livelihoods for fishing communities.

Theme 4 - Threat Reduction:

Objective 2 - Where it is legal, limit any direct take to sustainable levels:

4.2.1) Discourage targeted hunting of small cetaceans, and promote alternatives.

4.2.2) Ensure that legal direct take of small cetaceans does not affect the viability of local populations. Enforce existing laws prohibiting or restricting direct take of small cetaceans.

4.2.3) Ensure that any live capture activities in the region do not affect the viability of local populations and comply with international regulations and agreements.

►    The ASCOBANS Recovery Plan for Baltic Harbour Porpoises includes:

Objective 4 - Recovery Recommendations:

4.1) Bycatch Reduction:

4.1.1) Reduce fishing effort in certain fisheries.

4.1.2) Involve stakeholders in the work of reducing bycatch of harbour porpoises.

4.1.3) Replace fishing methods known to be associated with high porpoise bycatch (i.e. set nets) and introduce alternative gear that is considered less harmful.

4.1.4) Implement a pinger programme on a short-term basis.

4.2.3) Develop interactive pingers or pingers using frequencies not audible to seals.

4.2.5) Monitor bycatch in fisheries known to be harmful to harbour porpoises to be able to estimate bycatch levels.

4.2.6) Further develop sustainable alternative fishing gear with no bycatch of harbour porpoises.

4.2.7) Compile data on fishing effort.

4.2.9) Investigate the prevalence of derelict (“ghost”) gear and the feasibility of its removal.

►    The ASCOBANS Conservation Plan for Harbour Porpoises (Phocoena phocoena L.) in the North Sea includes:

2) Implementation of existing regulations on bycatch of cetaceans.

3) Establishment of bycatch observation programmes on small vessel (<15m) and recreational fisheries.

4) Regular evaluation of all fisheries with respect to extent of harbour porpoise bycatch.

5) Review of current pingers, development of alternative pingers and gear modifications.

6) Finalise a management procedure approach for determining maximum allowable bycatch limits in the region.

►    The ASCOBANS Conservation Plan for the Harbour Porpoise population in the Western Baltic, the Belt Sea and the Kattegat includes:

1) Actively seek to involve fishermen in the implementation of the plan and mitigation measures to ensure reducing bycatch

Action required: A working group including fishermen, scientists, and representatives of governments and environmental organizations should be established to develop guidelines and methods to reduce and monitor bycatch in relevant fisheries.

3) Protect harbour porpoises in their key habitats by minimizing bycatch as far as possible.

4) Implement pinger use in fisheries causing bycatch.


Avian Species


►    The Action Plan - Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of the Middle-European Population of the Great Bustard includes:

Objective 2 - Prevention of hunting, disturbance and other threats:

2.1) Any hunting should be prohibited in areas where and at times when Great Bustards are expected to occur, where this is considered necessary for the conservation of the bustards. Any hunting restrictions officially imposed should be strictly enforced.

►    CMS COP Resolution 10.10 (2011) on Guidance on global flyway conservation and options for policy arrangements includes:

Objective 16 - Flyways:

16.6.1) Support the enhanced implementation of the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement, and the development, strengthening and implementation of bycatch mitigation and monitoring measures by relevant Regional Fisheries Management Organizations.

►    The Central Asian Flyways Action Plan for the conservation of migratory water birds and their habitats includes:

Objective 4 - Management of Human Activities /Harvesting/Hunting:

4.1.1) Range States shall review their national policy and legislation in the field of hunting activities and waterbird protection with a view to implementing international guidelines to encourage harmonization, stricter protection of threatened species and sustainable exploitation of quarry species.

4.1.2) Range States shall cooperate to ensure that their relevant legislation implements the principle of sustainable use as envisaged in this Action Plan, taking into account the full geographical range of the waterbird populations concerned and their life history characteristics.

4.1.3) Range States shall develop and improve/modify their relevant legislation in terms of sustainable exploitation of quarry species and strict protection of threatened ones.

4.1.4) The Secretariat shall be kept informed by the Range States of their legislation relating to the harvesting/hunting of populations listed in Table 2.

4.1.5) Range States shall provide measures for sustainable use in particular for species that are listed in any national/regional Red Data Book/Red Data List even if they are not globally or regionally threatened.

4.1.6) Range States shall develop and implement necessary measures to eliminate, or reduce, as far as possible, illegal taking, poaching, and unsustainable hunting practices of populations listed in Table 2, such as use of poisoned baits, mist netting, trapping, explosives, and control gun ownership to deter illegal taking.

4.1.7) Range States shall eliminate illegal trade of populations listed in Table 2:

4.1.8) Where appropriate, Range States shall encourage hunters to organise themselves into associations/societies (at local, state/provincial, national and international levels) to coordinate their activities and share their responsibilities for sustainable use of migratory waterbirds. Range States shall develop their own local and state/provincial systems to regulate harvesting/hunting in the context of internationally acceptable sustainable use principles.

4.1.9) Range States shall promote the education and training of hunters for the conservation and sustainable use of waterbirds, including through hunting associations and shall endeavour to make mandatory hunter proficiency tests as a condition for the issue of hunting licences. The proficiency test for hunters should include, among other things, waterbird identification including of target and non-target species.

4.1.10) Range States shall reduce as far as possible the lead poisoning in waterbirds by gradual phasing out of lead shot and its replacement by non-toxic shot. They shall endeavour to phase out the use of lead shot for hunting in wetlands by the year 2015.

4.1.11) Range States shall initiate efforts to collect and publish harvest data/hunting statistics on migratory waterbirds, in order to be able to establish the international coordination of sustainable waterbird harvest in the future.

4.1.12) Range States shall cooperate with a view to developing a reliable and harmonized flyway wide system for the collection of harvest data in order to assess the annual harvest of populations or, when this is not possible, assess the annual harvest of the species listed in Table 2. They shall provide the Secretariat with estimates of the total annual take for each population or, when this is not possible, assess the annual harvest of the species.




►    The Resolution 10.3- The Role of Ecological Networks in the Conservation of Migratory Species includes:

8) Further invites Parties and other States as well as relevant international fora, as appropriate, to explore the applicability of ecological networks to marine migratory species, especially those that are under pressure from human activities such as over exploitation, oil and gas exploration/exploitation, fisheries and coastal development.


Terrestrial Species


►    The Programme of Work of the Central Asian Mammals Initiative (CAMI POW) includes:

 Objective 1.1 - Illegal hunting and trade:

1.1.1) Strengthen the capacity of enforcement personnel.

1.1.2) Ensure adequate legislation and compliance with CITES.

1.1.3) Monitor populations to ensure sustainable use.

1.1.4) Promote inter-agency communication on these issues.

1.1.5) Promote the use of new technologies for enforcement.

1.1.6) Promote information sharing across Range, Consumer and Transit States.

►    The Saiga-Medium-Term International Work Programme (for the Saiga Antelope (2016-2020) includes:

Objective 2 - Anti-poaching:

2.1) Develop and update national anti-poaching strategies, with a focus at the population level (including transboundary populations), in order to maximize effectiveness of patrol deployment and intelligence-gathering/

2.2) Strengthen anti-poaching units, and where needed establish more, for the protection of all saiga populations in all Range States.

2.3) Strengthen national capacity and legislation to support improvements in detection, processing and prosecution of offenders, including measures to avoid conflicts of interest.

2.4) Improve the prestige, capacity and coordination of, and provide relevant training for, local and national law enforcement and nature protection officers and other officials, at all levels, where appropriate.

Objective 3 - Sustainable Use and Trade:

3.1) Encourage research aiming to reduce the quantity of saiga horn used in traditional Asian medicines, including market surveys, both on the ground and online, in Range States, consumer and trading countries.

3.2) Encourage Range States and consumer countries to comply with CITES decisions and recommendations.

3.3) Encourage all Signatories to report seizures or confiscations through appropriate channels and encourage trading partners to do the same.

3.4) All Range States that are members of CITES are encouraged to achieve a Category 1 rating for their CITES-related legislation.

3.5) Encourage countries trading in saiga products to establish internal market controls for saiga parts e.g., registration of stockpiles, labelling of parts and products and registration of manufacturers and traders, learning from experiences in China.

3.6) Seek opportunities for training and cross-border cooperation in CITES implementation, identification of saiga products and techniques for countering illegal trade.

3.7) Where feasible, include saiga conservation and trade issues into higher political agendas in order to raise the awareness of policy makers and ensure higher level political support for the implementation of the MOU and Medium-Term International Work Programme.

3.8) Encourage cooperation between in-situ conservation and the Asian medicine industry for promotion of saiga conservation and sustainable use, including information sharing and financial support.

3.9) Encourage all Range States to join CITES.

►    The International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Argali includes:

Objective 1 - To stabilize argali numbers and range and reverse negative trends:

1.2.1) Involve local communities formally in the management and sustainable use of argali and their habitat.

1.2.2) Promote long-term assignment of management rights to communities.

1.2.3) Ensure that a percentage of hunting revenues is dedicated to argali conservation.

1.2.4) Ensure the equitable benefit sharing of revenues from trophy hunting to local.

1.2.5) Promote sustainable community-based wildlife management programmes/trophy hunting programmes.

1.2.6) Ensure sustainable harvest of argali and compliance with CITES, EU regulation and the US Endangered Species Act.

1.2.7) Review and where necessary strengthen legal and institutional measures concerning management of hunting areas, setting of quotas and allocation of licences and ensure their transparency.

1.2.8) Coordinate the allocation of quotas in trans-boundary populations among range states.

1.2.9) Training law enforcement staff in implementation of CITES regulations, identification of argali products and techniques for countering illegal trade.

1.2.10) Invest in small grant programmes to generate alternative livelihood options.

1.2.11)Discuss among all stakeholders the possibility of sustainable use of argali in countries where trophy hunting

►    The Action Plan concerning Conservation and Restorationof the Bukhara Deer includes:

Objective 2 - Reduce mortality through legal protection measures:

2.1.1) Ensure that BD is strictly protected by law and that legal instruments for the protection of the species and its habitats are being implemented.

2.1.2) Support of the anti-poaching activity.

Objective 3 - Enhance international co-operation:

3.3) Involve international organisations of users and other stakeholders.