Development and testing of a novel seabird mitigation option, the Hook Pod, in New Zealand pelagic longline fisheries
Hook Pods are one of the new generation of hook shielding devices used to mitigate the bycatch of seabirds in longline fisheries. The Hook Pod was recently recognized by the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels as a stand-alone best practice mitigation option for reducing the impact of pelagic longlines on seabirds. We report on the development and initial testing of a new version of the Hook Pod, known as the ‘mini’ Hook Pod, designed specifically to meet the operational requirements of New Zealand domestic pelagic longline fisheries for highly migratory fish stocks. The original and ‘mini’ Hook Pod designs will apply a weight of 68g and 45g, respectively, at the hook on setting. As such, both devices comply with the minimum weight specifications for weighted branchlines as specified in CMMs 2012-07 and 2015-03 to mitigate the impact of fishing for highly migratory fish stocks on seabirds.