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Seabird Conservation On Agenda

Seabird Conservation On Agenda

The Department of Conservation says the plight of albatrosses and petrels caught in fishing lines will be on the agenda at the second international fishers’ forum in Hawaii.

The forum runs from tomorrow (Tuesday November 19) till Friday November 22, and is a chance for fishers from around the world to exchange ideas and possible solutions to reduce the number of fishing-related seabird deaths.

DOC spokesperson Janice Molloy says an estimated 80,000 to 160,000 albatrosses and petrels are killed each year in the course of legal and illegal fishing in the southern oceans of the world.

“It’s tragic that these majestic creatures are dying and DOC is really supportive of attempts to find international solutions,” she says.

Two years ago DOC convened the first international forum in Auckland, which was attended by 85 fishers and researchers from 16 countries, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Fisheries and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Ms Molloy says the Hawaii forum will uncover what progress has been made in the intervening two years and provide an opportunity to discuss possible joint projects which may lead to fewer seabird deaths. A number of New Zealand fishing industry representatives will be there.

“The people at the forum can then take ideas and solutions back to their vessels and put these into practice.”

DOC is sending Ms Molloy to the forum, in her role as the coordinator of the department’s seabird conservation programme. She has been actively involved in establishing an alliance of New Zealand fishers, environmental groups and government agencies called Southern Seabird Solutions to promote the international conservation of seabirds.

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