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Funding For French Seabird Initiative


Southern Seabird Solutions is delighted to announce a new initiative that it hopes will help reduce the number of accidental fishing-related seabird deaths in the Southern Ocean.

It has received funding for a New Zealand fisher to visit Reunion Island to share information with French longline fishers about the range of fishing techniques available to catch fish without also accidentally hooking seabirds.

Sponsorship has been provided by A.S. Fiskevegn, a Norwegian manufacturer of fishing gear, through its New Zealand/Australia agent, Gourock New Zealand. The money will cover the cost of sending Malcolm McNeill, a vessel manager for Sealord Group Ltd, and Jakob Hals, from A.S. Fiskevegn, to Reunion Island.

The convenor of Southern Seabird Solutions, Janice Molloy, who also coordinates the Department of Conservation’s seabird conservation programme, says that international fisher exchanges are an important project for the group.

“It’s great to encourage projects that enable fishers to get together to exchange ideas and expertise,” she says.

Malcolm McNeill from Sealord Group Ltd says he’s looking forward to meeting the French fishers.

“New Zealand fishers have put a lot of time and effort into reducing accidental bird capture in New Zealand waters and we’ve learnt a lot along the way. It’s good to have the opportunity to spread the knowledge to other countries.”

Meanwhile, Bruce King from Gourock New Zealand, the agent for sponsor A.S. Fiskevegn, says he’s proud to be associated with A.S. Fiskevegn.

“When NZ fishers asked us to developed an Integrated weight Longline to reduce incidental seabird catch, we were only to please to help. This has been a joint effort between NZ fishers, NZ government departments, Australian Antarctic Division (Dr Graham Robertson) and A.S. Fiskevegn in Norway.”


Background:

Malcolm McNeill is an ex deep sea longline skipper, Vessel Manager for New Zealand Sealord Group Ltd, a member of Southern Seabird Solutions, and chair of the NZ Ling Longline Working Group.

Jakob Hals from A.S. Fiskevegn attended the second International Fishers Forum in Hawaii last year, so is familiar with the issue of accidental seabird catch. Gourock New Zealand also attended this forum, and the company is a member of the NZ Ling Longline Group. It plans to attend the annual Southern Seabird Solutions meeting in Auckland later this month.

Southern Seabird Solutions is an alliance of government departments, fishing companies, environmental groups, eco-tourism operators, seabird researchers and fisheries trainers working cooperatively to reduce the number of fishing-related seabird deaths in the southern hemisphere.

Its current and proposed projects include: Fostering exchanges of crew and technologies between fleets in different countries; Developing and testing new technologies such as underwater bait-setting capsules; Hosting national and regional fishers forums to enable fishers from different fleets to exchange ideas and information; Employing advisory officers in South Africa and South America to work alongside skippers and crew; Encouraging countries to join the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels; Gathering and reviewing information about where birds feed, and their overlap with fisheries.

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