Suva workshop: ACAP helps raise awareness on bycatch issues in Chinese longline fleets

ACAP’s Executive Secretary Marco Favero attended an Effective Seabird Conservation in Tuna Fisheries Workshop organized by Common Oceans (the Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction Tuna Program) in Suva, Fiji in the afternoon of 10 December last year.

Attendees gather at a Common Ocean's Chinese National Awareness Workshop in Suva, Fiji in December 2016 

A report of the meeting abbreviated from Common Oceans follows:

“Bycatch mitigation techniques will only be effective if fishermen use them. This simple message, often forgotten in more academic discussions, was the impetus behind a recent half-day workshop held with the Chinese tuna longline fleet operating out of Fiji.  Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Program partners BirdLife International (BLI), the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP), and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) capitalized on an invitation from the China Overseas Fisheries Association and Shanghai Ocean University to meet face-to-face with those on the frontlines of bycatch mitigation.  The workshop was attended by Chinese vessel captains, Fijian government officials, other industry representatives and researchers allowing for opinions and ideas from many different viewpoints to be discussed and shared.”

At the workshop ACAP concentrated on providing information in its presentation on seabird bycatch and bycatch mitigation while Karen Baird (BirdLife International) provided information on seabird life history. Bronwyn Maree (Seabird Bycatch Coordinator, Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Program), Janne Fogelgren (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; FAO) and Shelley Clark (Technical Coordinator - Sharks and Bycatch , Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Program) also gave presentations.

Marco makes his presentation entitled "Seabird bycatch and methods to mitigate incidental mortality in fisheries"

Marco Favero (ACAP) and Brownwyn Maree (Common Oceans)

The workshop provided an introduction to seabird biology and seabird bycatch mitigation measures currently adopted by the tuna Regional Fishery Management Organizations (tRFMOs) and supported as best practice by ACAP.  A brief demonstration of how to use a bird-scaring line was given.

“Information on mitigation for sharks, turtles and marine mammals was supplemented by safe release videos, and quizzes on what constitutes shark finning and when to use certain mitigation measures.  Many skippers noted that they used bird-scaring lines during fishing operations but that night setting was not commonly implemented by this fleet as a seabird bycatch mitigation measure. Captains expressed that they would like to have more workshops and be provided with more detailed and practical (real-life) examples of how to prevent bycatch.  Recommendations by participants also included testing of the various best practice bycatch mitigation measures on tuna longline vessels in China."

Read more on the workshop here.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 15 February 2017