Overview of the interaction between seabird and Taiwanese longline fisheries in the Pacific Ocean
Noting the increasing global attentions on the conservation of the ecosystem, the issue of incidental catches of ecological related species in fishing operations has been of great concerns. This report reviews the interaction between seabirds and Taiwanese longline fisheries and estimated the seabird incidental catch of Taiwan longline fisheries in the Pacific Ocean. To collect scientific information for target species as well as incidental catch species, Taiwan has launched observer programs since 2002. There were 23 observer trips from 2002 to 2006 on large scale tuna longline vessels operating in the Pacific Ocean. The coverage rate by trips was 3.5% in average. The observed days were 1590. According to the data collected, the incidental catch was the highest in the areas between 25o-40oN and 165oW to 165oE and areas between 25o-35oS and 165-180oW. In comparison, the incidental catch was low in tropical area. The incidental catch rate (BPUE) in each 10*15 degree grid square varied from 0 to 0.65 per 1000 hooks with the average BPUE of 0.045 per 1000 hooks, with variation of species incidentally caught by areas. Black-footed albatrosses and Laysan albatrosses were the major incidental catch species in the northern area. By using the total effort data estimated from logbooks and the seabird BPUE from observers, the preliminary estimated annual seabird incidental catch was around 1700 from 2002 to 2006. For the conservation of seabirds, including albatross and for the effective implementation of the conservation and management measures adopted by WCPFC, the government required fishermen operating in north of 23N and south of 30 S to mandatory using tori lines since 2007. The observer program was ongoing with one of the main purposes of collecting the seabird incidental catch data.