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

Wolfaardt A, ACAP Seabird Bycatch Working Group (2018) ACAP advice for reducing the impact of pelagic longline fishing operations on seabirds | IOTC. In: IOTC - 14th Working Party on Ecosystems and Bycatch. IOTC-2018-WPEB14-26, Cape Town, South Africa

The incidental mortality of seabirds, mostly albatrosses and petrels, in longline fisheries continues to be a serious global concern and was the major reason for the establishment of the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP). ACAP routinely reviews the scientific literature regarding seabird bycatch mitigation in fisheries, and on the basis of these reviews updates its best practice advice. The most recent review was conducted in September 2017, and this document presents the outcome of that review and the summary advice pertaining to best practice measures for mitigating seabird bycatch. ACAP has confirmed that a combination of weighted branch lines, bird scaring lines and night setting remains the best practice approach to mitigate seabird bycatch in pelagic longline fisheries. In addition, ACAP has since 2016 also endorsed the inclusion in the list of best practice mitigation measures of two hook-shielding devices. These devices encase the point and barb of baited hooks until a prescribed depth or immersion time has been reached (set to correspond to a depth beyond the diving range of most seabirds) thus preventing seabirds gaining access to the hook and becoming hooked during line setting. On the basis of the September 2017 review, the only update to the ACAP best practice advice for reducing bycatch of seabirds in pelagic longline fisheries related to recommendations concerning the aerial extent, streamer line configuration, attachment height and weak link of bird scaring lines for small (<35m) vessels.