Call for Oceana to retract bycatch report

19 Jun 2014

The US Regional Fishery Management Council Coordination Committee has recommended that environmental group Oceana retracts its March 2014 report on fisheries bycatch, as it contains errors and was not independently verified.

The Committee represents all eight US regional Fishery Management Councils. After analysing the report, Wasted Catch, the Councils found "a variety of substantial errors, omissions, and organizational approaches" that "may seriously miscommunicate bycatch information."

The Councils have recommended that Oceana retract the report "until [they] have the time and/or resources to develop a better understanding of the data summarized in the report." 

The Councils contend that "misinformation in reports like Wasted Catch undermines those productive relationships between industry, management, and NGOs that have been effective in reducing bycatch." They are especially critical of the fact that Oceana relied heavily on only one document, the National Marine Fishery Service's National Bycatch Report, and in doing so has left the report "unlikely to result in a full representation of the best available science."

The analysis by the Councils lists general issues with and critiques of the report, followed by a region-by-region analysis of errors and omissions identified by Council staffs.

The Councils acknowledge that there are no laws requiring Oceana reports to be peer reviewed, but recommended that for future reports, Oceana should adopt "a standardized peer review process to ensure that reports like this accurately and objectively represent the best available science."  

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