BirdLife: The Magazine Jan-Mar 2018 - Page 32

THE RED LIST Antipodean counterparts: it was found that just one Argentinian trawl fishery was killing an estimated 13,500 Black-browed Albatrosses every year, with far more globally. Bycatch is a problem for the whole albatross family. An estimated 100,000 albatrosses a year of multiple species are dying as accidental bycatch in longline and trawl fisheries. But help is at hand. The Albatross Task Force, set up in 2006 and led by the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) for the BirdLife International Partnership, has spent more than a decade working alongside fishermen to introduce measures that will prevent seabirds from getting caught in this way. They have braved storms, seasickness and extreme climates and spent over 5,000 days at sea to build relationships with those in the fishing industry. Fishermen don’t want to catch seabirds. In fact, seabirds actively obstruct the fishing process. We estimate one seabird can eat up to ten pieces of bait, intended for fish, before they get hooked. So the Albatross Task Force are in a perfect place to work with the fishing community to find solutions that suit everybody – the key to long-lasting and sustainable conservation. And their heroic work is paying off. After years of lobbying by BirdLife Partner Aves Argentinas, this year the Argentinian fishing authorities announced the mandatory use of bird-scaring lines on all freezer trawlers from May 2018 onwards. Thanks to the Task Force’s advocacy in Namibia, 100% of trawl and demersal longline 32 Bycatch is a major threat to albatrosses. Photo Fabiano Peppes 0 fishermen don’t want to catch seabirds. in fact, they actively obstruct the fishing process vessels now have bird-scaring lines, which have been constructed in collaboration with local women’s group Meme Itumbapo. In South Africa, there has been a 99% reduction in albatross deaths in the hake demersal trawl fishery following the introduction of similar measures. Overall, nine out of the ten fisheries originally pinpointed as bycatch hotspots have committed to adopting regulations to protect seabirds. It’s not all plain sailing, however. In 2016, 39 albatrosses were killed in a commercial tuna fishing venture off the West Coast of New Zealand due to the skipper’s (illegal) failure to use bird-scaring lines. And it’s not just bycatch that we need to worry about. This July, a survey by Auckland Museum and the University of Tasmania discovered that over a third of seabirds found dead on Australia and New Zeala e)́ѕѥ)%مͥٔ́ɔͼɽL)ѡݽɱѡѥɽ̰Ս)%ͱ́ɔѡ՝ЁѼٔɕͥ)ȁЁɥѥѡɐɽѡ́ͱ)Mѡɗé݅ѼԁЁѡ)ݽɱèȁɽ́́ɔѥ)ѡɕѕ Ёѡɽ́Qͬɍ)͡ݸ́ݡЁӊéͥѼٔݥѠ)՝аѡ啅́ݔ)хѡ͔Ս͕́Ѽ܁ٕ) 䁍ѥեѡ́ݽɬݔѼɔ)ѡЁѡɅѽɥ́ɕѱ䁉)Ё͕ݥٔѡȁ́ɕɥѕѼѡ)ɽ́ѡݕɔЁѼ)ɑ)5Ȁ