Data collection requirements for observer programmes to improve knowledge of fishery impacts on seabirds
The incidental catch of seabirds associated with pelagic longline fishing operations is considered one of the greatest threats to seabirds, especially albatrosses and large petrels. The five tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) have established requirements for their pelagic longline vessels to use seabird by-catch mitigation measures in most areas overlapping with albatrosses, petrels and other seabirds impacted by by-catch, and have plans to monitor and review the effectiveness of these measures. Such a review relies on the effective collection, analyses and reporting of seabird by-catch and associated data and results. At the 2014 inter-sessional meeting of ICCAT’s Sub-committee on Ecosystems, it was noted that the process to review ICCAT’s seabird by-catch mitigation Rec. 11-09 should be initiated in 2015. One of the major constraints to an effective review is the availability and quality of by-catch data. This paper is a shortened version of a paper prepared previously for the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) that considers the data collection requirements for observer programmes to improve the knowledge of fishery impacts on albatrosses and petrels.