The New Zealand government is considering imposing a temporary ban on surface longline fishing in the Kermadec Islands after a fishing vessel was reported to have killed 51 albatrosses in a single trip.
Conservationists hope the ban will give the government time to implement mitigation techniques in the fishery, to reduce levels of seabird bycatch.
Most of the birds killed by the fishing vessel were thought to be Antipodean Albatross, a Vulnerable species that only breeds in New Zealand waters.
“I don’t want another incident like this occurring, so I am proposing immediate action under emergency provisions in the Fisheries Act.” said Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton. …
Last month, a report by CCAMLR (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) highlighted the positive effect that international regulation can have on reducing levels of seabird bycatch.
After a range of mitigation measures were put in place in the legal Antarctic toothfish longline fishery, seabird deaths went from several thousand in the mid-1990s to zero albatross deaths in the 2005/06 season.
This success was attributed to a number of actions put in place: closing fisheries during the breeding season, setting lines at night (because albatrosses feed by day), using line weighting and 100% observer coverage.
Sooty albatross: here.
Indian yellow-nosed albatross: here.
Wandering albatross: here.
More on albatrosses here.
Fishery observers in New Zealand surprised by amount of bycatch: here.
Globally threatened seabirds have been given a boost by a proposed new law in the United States. Congressman Alan Lowenthal has introduced legislation that would enable U.S. federal agencies to comply with an international agreement that aims to reduce seabird deaths by longline fishing and other threats. Conservationists have welcomed the initiative: here.
Vast reserve to protect remote Prince Edward Islands in the Southern Ocean: here.