16 January 2011

Incidental Take by Fish Hook Indicated in 1878

Incidental take of a bird associated with coastal fishing dates to the 1870s, based upon an 1878 report by T.M. Brewer, of Boston, Massachusetts.

A Fulmaris glacialis (Northern Fulmar) was taken "on a cod-hook" on the eastern part of George's Bank, which is off the Massachusetts coast, a little south of east of Boston. A live bird was taken captive on October 28, 1878 by Captain William Sweet, of the fishing schooner Grace C. Hadley.

The fulmar was still alive on November 4, when in the possession of George O. Welch, whom had received the bird to mount it for the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

The collection does have a New England specimen collected in 1878 (USNM 77114) but it is not apparent whether this is the specimen snagged by the fishing hook.

This instance of occurrence was the first known instance which provided documentation of its occurrence off the coast of New England. There are previous records from locales further north - in Canada - for Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Labrador and Nunavut, as well as along the western coast of Greenland.