Stocktake of measures for mitigating the incidental capture of seabirds in New Zealand commercial fisheries
Over 25 species of seabirds are incidentally caught in a wide range of commercial fisheries in New Zealand, including surface (pelagic) and bottom (demersal) long-line, deep-water and inshore trawl, and set nets. A significant amount of effort and resources has gone into developing methods to mitigate the incidental capture of seabirds in commercial fisheries both in NZ and overseas. A recent Southern Seabirds Solutions Trust (New Zealand) review collated key information about methods developed to mitigate incidental seabird mortality, with a particular focus on the development and testing undertaken for each. The purpose was to allow government and stakeholders to plan the type of support each mitigation measure may need and prioritise amongst them where needed. The review further aimed to inform fishers of the status of each of these mitigation measures. The scope of the review included mitigation measures (device or fishing practice) that have potential application in New Zealand commercial long-line, trawl or set net fisheries, and including measures already in use in New Zealand fisheries. The mitigation measure related to any species of seabird caught in commercial fisheries in New Zealand. The status of mitigation measures discussed ranged from early prototypes (or practices) through to commercially available mitigation measures. The development and testing of the mitigation measure may be occurring outside New Zealand but have potential application in New Zealand fisheries. The review assessed the extent to which each mitigation measure has been developed and tested against the ACAP criteria that defines best practice mitigation to reduce or eliminate the incidental mortality of seabirds in commercial fisheries.