At-sea trials to test the effectiveness of bait pods in reducing seabird bycatch in pelagic longline fisheries
In December 2009, Dr. Ben Sullivan (BirdLife International Global Seabird Programme) and Oliver Yates (BirdLife Albatross Task Force) undertook at-sea trials to test the operational effectiveness of the current bait pod prototype. These trials were conducted in the Australian Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF) fishery from the port of Nelson Bay (New South Wales) with the support of Markwell Fisheries, and the captain and crew of FV Strike Force.
We trialled three techniques to identify the most effective and efficient method for stowing the pods in the setting bin in a manner that was quick, safe and easy to achieve during the haul and also facilitated a quick and smooth setting operation. The simplest way to store the pods was to put the hook through the swivel (bait pod adjacent) then slot the hook into the top section of the clip. This technique is the most commonly used method in many South American pelagic longline fisheries (e.g. Brazil and Chile). This worked very well and the crew commented that it possibly made the setting operation easier than their traditional method of throwing the swivel, pulling out 2-3 arm lengths of monofilament then baiting up and casting the baited hook.