Field Evaluation of Seabird Deterrent Gear and Alternatives for Alaska Small Longline Vessels
In 2003 and 2004, the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program undertook a collaborative demonstration project, with funds provided by the USFWS, to develop practical ways of reducing bird interactions with longline gear deployed by small vessels. We relied upon the cooperation and ingenuity of small vessel owners to accomplish this goal. We did not evaluate the novel methods for effectiveness in deterring seabirds; rather, we examined the logistical and economic practicalities of using the new methods. Recommendations as a result of this project to test the 6 mitigation methods, are: 1) consideration be given to testing seabird deterrence of lighter-weight streamer lines, 2) if found effective, lighter-weight streamer lines be constructed and distributed for free to small boat operators, 3) research on the use of integrated weight groundline on smaller vessels be continued, particularly on the 40-50 ft LOA vessel class, and 4) outreach efforts be undertaken to inform smaller vessel owner/operators about buoy line covering, davit designs and associated costs.