ACAP advice for reducing the impact of pelagic longline fishing operations on seabirds

Jimenez S, Debski I, Seco Pon JP (2021) ACAP advice for reducing the impact of pelagic longline fishing operations on seabirds. In: IOTC- 17th Working Party on Ecosystems & Bycatch (Assessment). IOTC-2021-WPEB17(AS)-30, Online

The incidental mortality of seabirds in pelagic longline and other fisheries continues to be a serious global concern, especially for threatened albatrosses and petrels. The Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) was established to address this concern. ACAP routinely reviews and updates its advice, most recently in August-September 2021, at the Twelfth Meeting of ACAP’s Advisory Committee (AC12) and preceding Tenth meeting of the Seabird Bycatch Working Group (SBWG10). This paper summarizes the latest advice and recent recommended changes. ACAP recommends that the most effective way to reduce seabird bycatch in pelagic longline fisheries is to use the following three best practice measures simultaneously: branch line weighting, night-setting and Bird Scaring Lines. Alternatively, the use of one of two assessed hook-shielding devices is recommended. During SBWG10, two additional mitigation measures for pelagic longline fisheries were assessed against the six best practice seabird bycatch mitigation criteria adopted by the ACAP Advisory Committee (AC). These were underwater bait setting devices, specifically the Underwater Bait Setter (Skadia Technologies) and the Hookpod-mini. The Advisory Committee is due to consider endorsement of these as ACAP best practice seabird bycatch mitigation. ACAP is working towards communicating more effectively the conservation crisis facing albatrosses and petrels, and its advice regarding how best to address the threats that these seabirds face.