Stocktake of measures for mitigating the incidental capture of seabirds in New Zealand commercial fisheries. Report to Southern Seabirds Solutions Trust by Parker Conservation.
Over 25 species of seabirds are caught as incidental bycatch 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 (Dragonfly 2016). Due to this a significant amount of effort and resources has gone into developing methods to mitigate the incidental bycatch of seabirds in commercial fisheries in NZ and overseas (Løkkeborg 2011; Bull 2009). This report aims to collate key information about methods developed to mitigate incidental seabird mortality, with a particular focus on the development and testing undertaken for each. This will allow government and stakeholders to plan the type of support each mitigation measure may need and prioritise amongst them where needed. This project also aims to inform fishermen of the status of each of these mitigation measures. The scope of this report includes mitigation measures (device or fishing practice) that have potential application in New Zealand commercial long-line, trawl or set net fisheries. For completeness, mitigation measures already in use in New Zealand fisheries are included. The mitigation measure may relate to any species of seabird caught in commercial fisheries in New Zealand. The status of mitigation measures discussed range 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 multi-lateral Agreement for the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP), of which NZ is a signatory, has provided a set of criteria that defines best practice mitigation to reduce or eliminate the incidental mortality of seabirds in commercial fisheries (given below). This report assesses the extent to which each mitigation measure has been developed and tested against the ACAP criteria. At the beginning of each fisheries section a table lists the mitigation methods included in the section and the current status of development of each. The following information will be summarised for each mitigation measure, by fishing method: • Name of mitigation measure • Current status of development of each measure - Early prototype / functionality - Limited efficacy testing - Broader efficacy testing (may require refinement) - Tested comprehensively in most relevant fisheries and gear types - Tested comprehensively in all relevant fisheries and gear types • Current use of each measure (internationally) - Not in use / very limited use - Used in some fisheries - Widespread use • Brief description of mitigation measure and how it works • Description of results of development to date (where relevant) • Description of results of testing to date, reported against the ACAP criteria • Hurdles to uptake in New Zealand • Past and current funders and developers (if applicable) • Development and testing needed to meet ACAP’s six criteria: i. Effectiveness Individual fishing technologies and techniques should be selected from those shown by experimental research to significantly reduce the rate of incidental seabird mortality to the lowest achievable levels. ii. Proven specifications and standardsFishing technologies and techniques, or a combination thereof, shall have clear and proven specifications and minimum performance standards for their deployment and use. iii. Likely uptake Fishing technologies and techniques shall be demonstrated to be practical, cost effective and widely available iv. Effect on target catch Fishing technologies and techniques should, to the extent practicable, maintain catch rates of target species. v. Effect on non-target catch Fishing technologies and techniques should, to the extent practicable not increase the bycatch of other taxa. vi. Compliance Minimum performance standards and methods of ensuring compliance should be provided for fishing technologies and techniques, and should be clearly specified in fishery regulations. • Costs per vessel for installation/uptake (if available)