February 13, 2019
Pressure on to cut bird bycatch
The fishing industry has been put on notice it needs to do more to avoid seabird bycatch.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage says five Antipodean albatrosses and one Gibson's albatross were killed when they were caught by a longline fishing vessel in the Bay of Plenty region between December 2 and early January.
The deaths of two black petrels and one Buller's albatross were also recorded by a ministry observer.
Antipodean and Gibson's albatrosses are as endangered as kākāpō.
The deaths occurred even though the fisher was operating within the existing fisheries regulations for reducing bycatch.
This shows the industry needs to demonstrate leadership and go over and above minimum requirements, which include weighting lines so they sink faster, setting them at night, and using bird scaring lines.
Other innovations could include using hook-shielding devices to cover the point and barb of the hook when longlines are set so seabirds cannot be hooked and drowned,
Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash says consultation will start soon on an updated National Plan of Action to reduce the incidental capture of seabirds.
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