New set of rules to protect seabirds in New Zealand

Seabirds and albatrosses get caught accidentally by commercial fishers.
Around 145 seabird species inhabit New Zealand's waters home

Around 145 seabird species inhabit New Zealand's waters home

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Fisheries New Zealand has announced new rules to reduce the risk of seabirds and albatrosses that sometimes get caught accidentally by commercial fishers.

Therefore, all commercial fishers that use surface longline fishing methods will have to obtain special hook shielding devices or implement all three key seabird mitigation measures (now just two).

These measures consist of bird-scaring devices called tori lines (streamers), the use of line weighting to sink hooks faster, and setting their gear at night. This will take effect on October 1.

According to Fisheries New Zealand, around 145 seabird species inhabit New Zealand's waters home. The most vulnerable seabirds are albatrosses and petrels.

"Fishers don't go out to catch seabirds and these measures will help ensure that the surface longline fleet has the best chance of avoiding seabirds that are trying to sneak a feed off their hooks," Fisheries New Zealand's director of fisheries management, Emma Taylor explained.

Also, she confirmed that onboard cameras have been operating since January. Thanks to the insights captured, public consultation, and scientific modeling this initiative has been made possible.

"We have systems to monitor the position of all commercial fishing vessels in real-time, and fishers are legally required to report their catch and position to us electronically," she detailed.

Finally, Taylor remarked on the importance of foreign collaborations: "Many seabird species found in New Zealand waters also travel widely beyond our borders. We continue to work with other countries, through international conventions, to reduce the effects of fishing on seabirds throughout the South Pacific and Southern Oceans."

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