Cooperation to reduce the problem of seabird bycatch

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  • By Kayleigh Madjar / Editor, with CNA

Longline data promises to provide insight into how to keep seabirds away from fishing lines, marking the completion of a collaboration between the Fisheries Agency and bird conservation advocates in Taiwan and the United States. UK.

As the world leader in longline tuna fishing, Taiwanese vessels often accidentally catch albatrosses and other seabirds, especially in high-latitude waters, the agency said in a press release on Monday. .

The Agriculture Council began in 2020 working with the Taiwan Wild Bird Federation and the British Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to test solutions to the problem of bird bycatch that would be compatible with Taiwanese fishermen.

Photo courtesy of Kinmen-Matsu-Penghu Branch of the Coast Guard Administration

Two ships from the Indian Ocean and three ships from the Pacific Ocean are involved in the project, which returned to Taiwan last year and earlier this year respectively, the agency said.

Researchers now need to analyze data collected by observers on the five boats to design better bird deterrent strategies, he added.

The three organizations are also preparing a manual to help anglers identify different birds, he added.

Longline fishing is particularly dangerous for seabirds, which are attracted to bait suspended near the surface along long fishing lines.

Common solutions include attaching brightly colored streamers to the lines to scare the birds away or attaching weights so the bait falls out of reach.

Taiwan has participated in numerous meetings on the issue through its membership in the regional fisheries management organization and has adopted the group’s seabird bycatch avoidance measures as national law, the official said. ‘agency.

Among the rules, anglers are required to adopt at least two of three recognized avoidance measures – streamers, weighting or baiting at night.

The agency said this is not the first time it has worked with the two organizations, nor its first foray into the issue of seabird bycatch.

Seminars on the subject were held in 2004 and 2013, while in 2016 and 2018 the Port-based Outreach program was held in Mauritius to provide a platform for academics and stakeholders to exchange ideas on conservation of seabirds, he said.

Sustainable management of the fishing industry involves striking a balance between resource use and the conservation of marine ecologies, the agency said, pledging to continue working with domestic and foreign organizations to improve its work in conservation.

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