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Southern Seabird Solutions Fisherman off to Peru

7th February 2006

Southern Seabird Solutions Fisherman off to Peru

Dave Kellian, fisherman, inventor and advocate for sustainable fishing, is going to Peru today to promote what he knows best, seabird friendly fishing methods.

His trip is sponsored by New Zealand’s Southern Seabird Solutions Trust, which is a Government, NGO and fishing industry alliance established in July 2002. Dave will share his technical knowledge and experience to introduce practical actions that Peruvian fishermen can undertake to avoid catching seabirds.

Dave will spend three weeks in Peru working alongside Instituto del Mar del Perú (IMARPE)* and Pro Dephinos staff to determine what support and advice is needed to address seabird by-catch in Peru. During this time he will visit a number of fishing ports, undertake several fishing trips, partake in workshops, and meet with fishing industry representatives, government officials and NGOs as well as taking some time out to enjoy Peru.

Dave has fished in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, using a wide range of fishing techniques, and he is dedicated to reducing seabird captures. He has committed a significant amount of personal time and money to developing new solutions, including his underwater setting bait capsule. He has also developed bird streamer lines (tori lines) that are able to be used by smaller vessels working at lower setting speeds.

The project is part of New Zealand’s Southern Seabird Solutions’ co-operation agreement, signed with Peru in October to promote seabird safe fishing practices.

Funding has been received from the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the International Association of Antarctic Tourism Operators, IMARPE and Department of Conservation for this project.
*IMARPE manages scientific research into living marine and inland water resources and lays the scientific groundwork for fishery resource management.
Background Information:

Southern Seabird Solutions

Why Seabird Conservation is Important
New Zealand is the "seabird capital of the world" - it is the world centre of seabird diversity. Of the world's 359 seabird species:

* Nearly one-quarter breed in New Zealand - 84 species
* Of these 84 species, 35 (10 per cent of the total) breed nowhere else in the world
* New Zealand seabirds include representatives from 12 of the 20 seabird families
* New Zealand has a particularly high diversity of albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters
*About 60 per cent of New Zealand seabird species regularly forage more than 50km offshore
We know that:

*On average New Zealand commercial fishing activities were observed to kill fewer than two royal albatrosses a year
There are solutions to the bycatch problem.
There are ways to fish that avoid catching seabirds and many of them are simple, cheap and easy to use. Many of the techniques and practices promoted by Southern Seabird Solutions have been developed by fishermen, for fishermen.
They include:

* Retaining offal on board so that birds are not attracted to the vessels
* Using tori lines (streamer lines) off the back of vessels to scare birds away from the baited lines. The main problems occur when the line is being set as birds follow the boats and dive for the bait fish as they are being dropped into the sea. The birds get caught on the hooks and drown. A tori line stops this with streamer type material that is trailed behind the boat with a series of drop down pieces. These discourage the birds from flying through them.

* Setting baited hooks at night, when they are harder to see
* Using weights on longlines to make them sink more quickly
* Using thawed baits which sink more quickly than frozen ones

Some New Zealand companies are also investing in research and development to reduce seabird bycatch.For example, a special weighted line has been developed. This "autoline" has a lead core which makes it sink quickly, taking the baits out of the reach of birds. It also catches more of the target species.
Southern Seabird Solutions has also co-ordinated portside workshops for New Zealand fishermen to educate skippers and crew about the issues and threats to seabirds, and sharing ideas and fishing practices that reduce seabird captures.

The Role of Southern Seabird Solutions

Southern Seabird Solutions was formed in 2002, and the charitable trust established in 2004 in response to the looming threat of seabird extinction from fishing practices.

Its purpose is to work with fishermen throughout the southern hemisphere to develop and promote fishing practices that are safer for seabirds. Its members include fishermen, representatives of the fishing industry, conservation organisations, marine eco-tourism operators and government agencies.

"A core premise of Southern Seabird Solutions is that fishermen hold the keys to finding solutions to stopping seabird mortalities," Janice Molloy says. "We help fishermen pass on their knowledge, technology and skills to promote good practices in the longline and trawl fisheries."

The group's scope extends beyond New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone because seabirds that breed in New Zealand spend large parts of their lives in national and international waters far away from their breeding locations. This means that they have the potential to interact with international fisheries as well as New Zealand fisheries. This ‘trans-border’ movement adds to the challenge of managing the impact of fishing activity on New Zealand seabird species.

Funding for the Trust's projects come from a variety of sources both within and outside New Zealand, and include financial contributions from supporters, grants, sponsorship and services in kind.
Some of Southern Seabird Solutions’s current and proposed projects include:

* Fostering exchanges of crews and technologies between fleets in different countries;

* Hosting national and regional fisher forums to enable fishermen 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;

*Awarding an annual Seabird Smart Award to recognize excellence in seabird by-catch mitigation. A New Zealand award is already in place with an international award proposed for next year.


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