Seabird bycatch mitigation methods

Birdlife International (2022) Seabird bycatch mitigation methods. In: WCPFC Scientific Committee 18th Regular Session. WCPFC SC18 NGO-BI, Electronic Meeting

BirdLife International are highly supportive of ongoing efforts to identify improved seabird bycatch mitigation measures in WCPFC fisheries. However, we note that some Members are not meeting the required seabird bycatch mitigation specifications under CMM 2018-03 in its current form. Further, the recommendations in CMM 2018-03 do not yet meet ACAP (Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels) Best Practice Standards, yet Members still fail to meet them year on year (Table 1), instead proposing more trials of an alternative design or claiming more data is needed to verify the effectiveness of the measures listed in CMM 2018-03. Therefore, BirdLife International are genuinely concerned by Agenda Item 5.3 that includes the proposal, as recommended by the SC17, that Members further investigate 1) streamer-less bird scaring lines, and 2) blue-dyed bait and strategic offal discharge as acceptable seabird bycatch mitigation measures...
Evidence submitted to the SC18 - SC18-EB-IP-14 demonstrates the above proposals are ineffective to reduce seabird bycatch. In this work, the researchers conducted experimental trials, in collaboration with fishing crew, in the Hawaiian DLL fishery (in the North Pacific) using three bird scaring line (BSL) designs, including a streamer-less design, and found:
• The streamer-less design was least favoured by captains and crew because they believed the design would be less effective at reducing seabird interactions than designs with streamers.
• Neither blue-dyed bait nor offal discharges were effective at reducing albatross interactions. In fact, offal discharge increased the probability of albatross interactions.