Developing Bird Mitigation Plans to reduce seabird mortality


WWF-SA/Peter Chadwick

Albatrosses are amongst the most endangered group of animals on the planet with 18 of 21 albatrosses threatened with extinction, partly as a result of their interactions with fishing gear. A proactive study conducted by the hake trawl fishery concluded that approximately 18 000 birds were killed per year. The industry responded swiftly and implemented the mandatory use of Tori Lines.

Through the use of Tori Lines bird bycatch in the trawl fishery has been drastically reduced. Although displaying an impressive reduction, there is a need to implement additional measures to further reduce seabird fatalities in the fishery. Since seabirds are attracted to fishing vessels because of the ‘free meal’ they receive, the only ultimate solution is to eliminate or reduce the amount of offal discarded. For this reason the Responsible Fisheries Alliance, in collaboration with BirdLife South Africa, has embarked on a project to investigate vessel specific management plans. These plans intend to outline what each  vessel type can do towards seabird bycatch mitigation.

 

A report providing a general summary of the project can be accessed below.

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