Skip to Content

Resource hub

JNCC Report 726: Regional seabird bycatch hotspot analysis 2023


In July 2018, the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) asked JNCC to develop a UK marine bird bycatch Plan of Action (PoA) to: “Deliver a coherent approach to understand and where necessary reduce marine bird bycatch in UK fisheries, through engagement and dialogue with all interested parties and the implementation of subsequent recommendations”.

Stemming from that request and subsequent developments in the PoA, a first assessment of broad-scale seabird bycatch mortality by some sectors of the UK-registered fishing fleet in UK and adjacent waters was undertaken (Northridge et al. 2020), using data collected under the UK Bycatch Monitoring Programme (BMP) and official fishing effort statistics. The assessment revealed that several thousand seabirds may die annually as a result of being accidentally caught in the fishing gears considered in the study. The analysis also suggested that there might be some regional higher-risk areas (“hotspots”).

As the PoA continues to develop, there is a need to refine our understanding of the location and nature of any regional seabird bycatch hotspots to focus concerted efforts between industry, regulators, and scientists to help reduce seabird bycatch where this is deemed necessary and to improve our general understanding of how, when and where bycatch occurs most frequently. As a next step in this process Defra asked JNCC to develop a second project with the main objectives of:

  • Providing more detailed analysis of the BMP dataset and other relevant data sources on bycatch rates, bycatch risk (i.e. Bradbury et al. 2017) and where available, relevant fishing effort data, to identify potential hotspots of seabird bycatch in UK waters for the primary purpose of informing options for regional pilot areas for undertaking targeted bycatch mitigation trials. Such an analysis also has the potential to highlight areas where increased monitoring and research efforts might be justified.
  • Proposing and providing a rationale for possible candidate areas for pilot studies based on the above analyses and other relevant and available information.

In November 2019, the JNCC commissioned the Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI), University of St Andrews, to carry out the analysis. This report describes the analytical methodology, the results obtained and the rationale behind some proposed candidate areas for initial pilot studies based on data collated from several sources: the BMP, the English and Welsh commercial catch sampling programme (EW-CSP), the Bradbury et al. report (2017) and official fishing effort statistics maintained by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

This resource may not be fully accessible for all users. If you need a copy in a different or more accessible format, please contact

Resource type Publication

Topic category Environment

Reference date 2023·07·01

Northridge, S.P., Kingston, A.R. & Coram, A.J. 2023. Regional seabird bycatch hotspot analysis. JNCC Report 726, JNCC, Peterborough, ISSN 0963-8091.

This report was produced for JNCC under an external contract, by Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St Andrews, for/under contract number C19-0241-1342.

Responsible organisation
Communications, JNCC publisher

Limitations on public access No limitations

Use constraints Available under the Open Government Licence 3.0

Metadata date 2023·10·25

Metadata point of contact
Communications, JNCC

Back to top