Seabird and Fisheries Interactions
Commercial fisheries have provoked dramatic changes in the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems. Most direct and negative effects of fisheries on seabirds encompass the competition between seabirds and fish stocks, and fishery related seabird injury and mortality. Direct and positive effects refer to the supply of large and patchily predictable food resources as discards, and the facilitation in capturing prey during fishing operations.
This chapter provides an overview of at-sea seabird-fishery interactions focusing on the effects that two main fishery characteristics have on seabird populations, discards and seabird bycatch, and on how to reduce these effects using legislation and mitigation measures. Legislation such as the discard ban of the European Union, which compels them to land the unwanted catch, will impact seabird communities. Mitigation measures they can be regarded in terms of operational and technical measures. The first are related to the operability of fishing gears or vessels, while the second imply a modification in the gear or using specific devices. There is a need to involve the fisheries sector in the understanding of seabird-fisheries interactions, and collaboration with fishermen is necessary for the implementation of solutions to mitigate the negative impacts of fisheries on seabird populations.