ACAP Review of mitigation measures and Best Practice Advice for Reducing the Impact of Pelagic Longline Fisheries on Seabirds

ACAP (2021) ACAP Review of mitigation measures and Best Practice Advice for Reducing the Impact of Pelagic Longline Fisheries on Seabirds. In: ACAP - Twelth Meeting of the Advisory Committee. Online

This document provides advice about best practices for reducing the impact of pelagic longline fishing on seabirds. ACAP’s best practice advice is that the simultaneous use of weighted branch lines, bird scaring lines and night setting is the most effective approach to mitigate seabird bycatch in pelagic longline fisheries. Three hook-shielding devices, the ‘Hookpod-LED’, ‘Hookpod-mini’ and the ‘Smart Tuna Hook’, and one underwater bait setting device, the ‘Underwater Bait Setter (Skadia Technologies)’ have recently been assessed and on the basis of this assessment have been included in the list of best practice measures for mitigating seabird bycatch in pelagic longline fisheries. These best practice bycatch mitigation measures should be applied in areas where fishing effort overlaps with seabirds vulnerable to bycatch to reduce the incidental mortality to the lowest possible levels. The ACAP review process recognises that factors such as safety, practicality and the characteristics of the fishery should also be taken into account when considering the efficacy of seabird bycatch mitigation measures and consequently in the development of advice and guidelines on best practice.

This document also provides information regarding measures that are currently under active development, and which show promise as future best practices in pelagic longline fisheries. ACAP will continue to monitor the development of these improving practices and the results of scientific research about their effectiveness.

Additionally, this document provides information about mitigation measures that are not recommended. A wide range of potential seabird bycatch mitigation measures have been proposed over time; however, not all of these have proven effective. ACAP considers that certain mitigation measures are ineffective, based either on scientific studies, or a lack of evidence in substantiation of claims made about the mitigation measure.
The document comprises two components. The first component provides a summary of ACAP’s advice regarding best practice measures for reducing seabird bycatch in pelagic longline fisheries, and the second component outlines the review of mitigation measures that have been assessed for pelagic longline fisheries.