BirdLife: The Magazine Jan-Mar 2018 - Page 51

Yellow-eyed Penguin caught in a bottom net set for school sharks Photo Ministry of Fisheries, New Zealand 4 Humboldt Penguin Spheniscus humboldti Photo Shutterstock 2 L ong-time followers of BirdLife’s work will be very familiar with the ongoing issue of accidental seabird capture (or bycatch) in fisheries, which has driven declines in many globally threatened marine species. For over a decade, we have made remarkable progress in reducing albatross bycatch in collaboration with fishermen through our Albatross Task Force, both by designing and testing innovative solutions at-sea (such as bird-scaring lines), and through our advocacy work. This has helped to pass new national laws which have turned some of the world’s most deadly fisheries, such as those in Namibia, ‘seabird-safe’ (see p. 30). The death of albatrosses on longlines is a shocking reality; these majestic birds, capable of circumnavigating the globe, felled by a single fishing hook or trawl cable. But potentially more shocking is that penguins – the group of birds so well adapted to the ocean lifestyle that they have forgone flight altogether – are also drowned as a result of their encounters with fishing boats; this time, by getting entangled in fishing nets as they dive for food. Until now, the exact impact of bycatch on penguins was poorly understood. But for the first time, a collaboration of penguin and fisheries experts the world over, led by BirdLife, has drawn together what is known of penguin bycatch to highlight the species most affected and the fishing gears with the greatest impact. The review, published in Endangered Species Research and the product of a collaboration initiated by Dr. Ursula Ellenberg at the 8th Jan-Mar 2018 • birdlife International Penguin Conference, found that of 18 species, 14 have been recorded as bycatch in fisheries. For many of these species, the records are sparse – and though the death of individual birds is unnecessary and undoubtedly sad, limited conservation resources dictate that our focus be drawn to those species for which bycatch levels are of greatest concern. To that end, the paper concludes that bycatch poses the greatest risk to three species – Humboldt Penguin Spheniscus humboldti (Vulnerable) and Magellanic Penguin Spheniscus magellanicus (Near Threatened), both found in South America, and the Yellow-eyed Penguin Megadyptes antipodes (Endangered), a remarkable-looking bird endemic to New Zealand. All of these species have been recorded as captures in gillnets – a fishing gear usually comprised of fine, near-invisible nylon that catches fish around the gills. The review reveals that Magellanic Penguins have also been caught in trawlers off the coast of Argentina. out of 18 species of penguin, 14 have been recorded as bycatch in f6W&W0FR7BbV&W"bFfGVf6W&W0vV2VwV22&VV76W76V@F&VvFRV'2BFfGVǒR`FW6R2&VVFVVVBF&RƖrVwV07Vff6VBV&W'2FffV7BFV"VF2F26VFW2GW7G&G&vfW76V2fbFP67Bb&vVFB6W"66RvWGFW'0&vVFB6WFW&'&vWfW"FP7VVFfR7BbFW6Rf6W&W2( 2ffV7FpVwV27&72FV"֖w&F'&WFRg&ЧFR6V2F6VBFFR'&VVFrw&VG0S