Seabird Mortality in North Pacific Longline Fisheries
One of the most globally critical threats to seabirds is mortality in longline fisheries. Available estimates for total albatross mortality in North Pacific pelagic longline fisheries, along with population modeling experiments on the Black-footed Albatross, highlight the concern that mortality in longline fisheries threatens the existence of Black-footed Albatrosses and may pose a significant threat to the other North Pacific albatross species. The potential exists to minimize seabird mortality in longline fisheries to insignificant levels, given the degree of international attention, the existence of legally binding accords, the availability of cost-effective seabird deterrent methods, and the usefulness of economic incentive instruments. To realize this potential, however, will require widespread implementation of relevant ultilateral accords and initiatives, provision of strong economic incentives for vessels to voluntarily use effective seabird deterrents, and implementation of effective formal constraints that provide strong economic disincentives for noncompliance with seabird conservation measures. Adoption of an international performance standard for hook sink rate with concomitant standardization of gear line weighting by gear manufacturers is offered as a specific next step to help abate this problem.