FAO Workshop on Encounter Protocols and Impact Assessments for Deep-Sea Fisheries in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, Arendal, Norway, 5-8 May 2015.
The FAO workshop on encounter protocols and impact assessments in deep-sea fisheries in areas beyond national jurisdiction took place in Arendal, Norway, from 5 to 8 May 2015. The overall objectives of the workshop were to share experiences and lessons learned in (i) the development and implementation of encounter protocols designed to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems from the impacts of bottom fishing activities in the areas beyond national jurisdiction, and (ii) the development and use of impact assessments for deep-sea bottom fisheries. The workshop discussed regional encounter protocols and impact assessments as fisheries management tools in the context of the sustainable use of deep-sea resources and protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems. In this context, encounter protocols are used to prevent significant adverse impacts on vulnerable marine ecosystems from bottom fishing activities, while impact assessments are to assess the potential ecosystem impacts of a fishery. The need to develop encounter protocols and impact assessments have been referred to in various international fora, and global and regional instruments contain guidance on how to develop these tools. As such, regional fishery management organizations or arrangements (RFMO/As) have developed and adopted conservation and management measures that address encounter protocols and require impact assessments of bottom fisheries. The workshop concluded by identifying areas of challenges for the implementation and use of encounter protocols and impact assessments, and developed a suite of key messages for both concepts that will be used to inform further regional and global discussions on the use of the these tools.