April 14, 2016 at 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
New England Aquarium
1 Central Wharf Boston, MA 02110
Timothy B. Werner, Senior Scientist and Director of the Consortium for Wildlife Bycatch Reduction, John H. Prescott Marine Laboratory, New England Aquarium
Demand for seafood is emptying the sea of its most iconic and ecologically important animals, including whales, dolphins, porpoises, seabirds, sea turtles, sharks, and corals. The nets, hooks, ropes, traps, and pots that fishermen use to capture their target catch also injure and kill these other animals in the hundreds of thousands every year. As a consequence, many of these species are being depleted to such low abundances that they face premature extinction, and no longer provide critically important ecosystem services.
While closing parts of the ocean to fishing can help mitigate the problem, it is only part of the solution. The Consortium for Wildlife Bycatch Reduction, a unique collaborative research program between fishermen and scientists based at the New England Aquarium, has been retooling fishing techniques; discovering new ways to fish that can reduce the bycatch of endangered marine species. From the northern US to the tropical Pacific and Patagonian seas, Tim will share examples of our cooperative research to modify fishing gear and practices, and highlight the challenges we must overcome to eliminate the most immediate threat to many endangered marine species worldwide.