Call for Tender - Marine Consultant

Application deadline: 
Friday, 27. November 2020 - 23:45

Consultant to undertake a literature review to understand the role that marine protected areas (MPAs), other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs), and time-area closures can play in reducing bycatch of marine vulnerable species, particularly in the Mediterranean, and identify effective approaches for their management. 
1.1. Introduction to the organization
BirdLife International is a global Partnership of autonomous, national non-governmental conservation organisations, with a large grassroots membership, in 120 countries and territories. BirdLife works together as a Partnership to conserve wild birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, by working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. BirdLife is the global authority on the status of bird species, has unparalleled technical expertise in bird and biodiversity assessment, and provides a global outreach through its national Partners and decentralised Secretariat.
BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is the regional division of BirdLife International, and is one of the six BirdLife regional offices around the world. It is composed of an international team of permanent staff working on conservation, capacity building, policy, management, finance, fundraising, advocacy, science, communication, marketing and administration. BirdLife Europe supports the European and Central Asia Partnership of BirdLife International, which consists of 48 independent, grassroots Civil Society Organisations, governed by a democratic programme.
BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is looking for a consultant to carry out a study on the effectiveness of marine protected areas (MPAs) and other time-area closures in reducing bycatch of vulnerable species (specifically seabirds, marine mammals, sea turtles and elasmobranchs).
 1.2. Introduction to the project
Bycatch is one of the main threats to the profitability and sustainability of fisheries, and represents a significant threat to wider marine biodiversity and the conservation and welfare of marine vulnerable species in the Mediterranean. 
The MedBycatch Project is a partnership between the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area (ACCOBAMS), the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Specially Protected Areas Regional Activity Center (SPA/RAC) of the United Nations Environment Programme/Mediterranean Action Plan (UN Environment/MAP), the International Union for Conservation of Nature – Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation (IUCN-Med), BirdLife Europe and Central Asia (BL ECA) and the Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles (MEDASSET).
It aims to address knowledge gaps regarding the bycatch of vulnerable species during fishing operations in the Mediterranean, support the testing of mitigation measures and support the formulation of national/regional strategies to reduce incidental catches and support the sustainability of fisheries. Project implementation involves field observation programmes (on-board, at landing site and through self-sampling) across different fishing gear (i.e. bottom trawls, gillnets and demersal longlines), together with training, awareness raising, and identification and testing of mitigation techniques. It aims to develop tools and build knowledge applicable to the entire Mediterranean and Black Sea area and beyond. In this context, a standardized regional protocol for data collection on incidental catches of vulnerable species – elasmobranchs, sea turtles, marine mammals, seabirds and macrobenthic invertebrates – has been developed. The project plans to leverage change within all of the coastal Mediterranean countries on the issue of incidental catch of vulnerable species, including through communication and advocacy activities with the fishing industries and decision makers. 
The incidental capture of marine vulnerable species in fishing gear – known as bycatch – represents an important conservation issue globally. To date a significant focus has been dedicated to the identification, development, testing and application of technical measures – either changes or modifications to fishing gear or to fishing practices – to reduce the impact of bycatch on affected taxa and species. Spatiotemporal measures that permanently, or temporarily, exclude certain (or all) fishing activities from defined areas (e.g. MPAs, OECMs, fisheries time-area closures) have received relatively less attention. These measures can reduce bycatch by exploiting variations in the degree of spatial or temporal overlap between target and bycatch species. Fisheries time-area closures are typically implemented temporarily or seasonally and often only prohibit a single gear type, rather than all fishing; therefore, they may not fulfil the criteria to be classified as OECMs and as such are considered separately.
Understanding the contribution that MPAs and OECMs can make to efforts to address the issue of bycatch of marine vulnerable species, as well as the factors that contribute to their effectiveness, is especially pertinent given the current negotiations on the post-2020 global biodiversity targets and the significant increase in the coverage of MPAs expected in the coming years.   
This study aims to answer the following questions:
1. How, and in which circumstances, can MPAs and OECMs (both individual sites and networks) contribute to reducing the bycatch of marine vulnerable species, and which attributes contribute to their effectiveness? 
2. What attributes of fisheries time-area closures increase their effectiveness in reducing the bycatch of marine vulnerable species?
3. What potential unintended consequences and trade-offs may occur when employing fisheries time-area closures?
4. Can fisheries time-area closures be designed in a way that minimises both bycatch and economic impacts? 
5. Which approaches for the management and enforcement of fishing regulations/management measures imposed through time-area closures and in MPAs have been demonstrated to be feasible and effective, and under what conditions?
The study aims to answer these questions through a review of the globally available evidence in published studies and grey literature. It will focus on the bycatch of marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds and elasmobranchs in all fishing gears, and will cover different categories of MPAs  as well as OECMs with a diversity of primary objectives (e.g. ones where biodiversity is a management objective, and ones that deliver biodiversity outcomes as a by-product of management activities).
While the findings of the study are expected to be globally relevant and applicable, specific recommendations should be made for the Mediterranean region taking into account the specificities of the fishing fleet operating in the region. Relevant case studies (from within or beyond the Mediterranean) should be included in the report to illustrate the findings and recommendations.
1. Assess the available evidence in published studies and grey literature to understand how MPAs and OECMs can contribute to reductions in the bycatch of marine vulnerable species, and identify the attributes that contribute to their effectiveness (e.g. size, age, level of protection, zoning and fisheries management measures, status of the wider protected area network, level of enforcement etc.). 
2. Assess the available evidence in published studies and grey literature to identify the attributes of fisheries time-area closures that make them more or less effective in reducing levels of bycatch of marine vulnerable species. 
3. Assess the available evidence in published studies and grey literature of the occurrence of unintended or undesirable consequences resulting from fisheries time-area closures, and identify the conditions under which these are more or less likely to occur (e.g. increase in bycatch due to spatiotemporal shifts in fishing effort; socio-economic viability for fishing fleets including reduction of target species catch; unintended impacts on marine vulnerable species other than those for which time-area closures are designed to benefit). 
4. From the available evidence in published studies and grey literature identify the attributes of time-area closures that increase the likelihood of minimising both bycatch of marine vulnerable species and economic impacts. 
5. Identify approaches for the management and enforcement of fishing regulations/management measures imposed through time-area closures and in MPAs that have shown to be feasible and effective (e.g. community-based management, electronic monitoring, and surveillance systems) and the conditions necessary for their success. 
6. Produce best practice recommendations on the use of MPAs and time-area closures to minimise bycatch of marine vulnerable species, either as stand-alone measures, or in combination with other measures (e.g. modifications to fishing gear). 
7. Develop specific recommendations on the use of MPAs and time-area closures in the Mediterranean, and the potential management and enforcement approaches, taking account of the specificities of the fishing fleet in the region. Where relevant recommendations should address specific stakeholders (e.g. Mediterranean Coastal States, GFCM, the European Commission etc.). 
A relevant academic degree
Good knowledge and experience related to the establishment and management of marine protected areas and fisheries time-area closures.
Good understanding and experience of the issue of bycatch of vulnerable species and measures to address it.
Knowledge of fisheries in the Mediterranean.
Experience of producing technical publications/reports.
Ability to speak and write English fluently.
Prospective consultants are invited to submit proposals before Friday 27th November 23:59 CET. Proposals should be sent to (by email only) and include the following:
A short technical proposal outlining the proposed approach to the study and including an indicative table of contents for the report.
The CV(s) of the person(s) who will undertake the study, highlighting their relevant experience. 
A work plan including a proposed start date. The work plan should include a minimum of 2 weeks for BirdLife and other project Partners to review and comment on a first draft of the report , and a minimum of 1 week to review and comment on the draft final report.
A financial proposal (VAT excluded).
Payments will be made upon the satisfactory completion and/or submission of outputs/deliverables, as outlined in the work contract.
The price for the tender must be quoted in Euros. Tenderers from countries outside the euro zone have to quote their prices in Euros. The price quoted may not be revised in line with exchange rate movements. It is for the tenderer to assume the risks or the benefits deriving from any variation.