24 July 2009

Modifications to Fishing Vessels Reduces Seabird Mortality

"Modern fishing methods are accidentally killing around 100,000 albatrosses globally every year - that's one every five minutes", said Dr Ben Sullivan - BirdLife's Global Seabird Programme Coordinator.

"In longline fisheries albatrosses die when they try to steal fish bait from hooks; in trawl fisheries they are killed when they birds collide with the fishing gear whilst trying to collect discarded fish," according to findings being reported by BirdLife International.

"The good news is that we have some simple and cost-effective measures that fishermen are increasingly using which are saving the lives of thousands of albatrosses in South America", said Dr Esteban Frere of BirdLife's Global Seabird Programme.

Using simple measures, there have been "impressive" results in South America. For example:

  • "In the south of Chile, the incidental capture of seabirds was reduced from over 1,500 birds in one year to zero through the adoption of modified fishing gear
  • "In Argentina the use of mitigation in the trawl fishery has shown that it is possible to reduce seabird mortality to close to zero
  • "In Brazil the voluntary adoption of simple bird-scaring lines has helped reduce incidental capture of seabirds by 56%

To help with their educational effort, The Albatross Task Force has released a leaflet explaining explain the simple, cost-effective methods that prevent deaths of albatrosses and other seabirds. The Spanish language leaflet is available by clicking here.

"The ATF works in seven priority countries - including Ecudor, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil - where albatrosses are known to die in hugely unsustainable numbers in longline and trawl fisheries."

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