The Albatross and Petrel Agreement was represented by Anton Wolfaardt, Convenor of its Seabird Bycatch Working Group. The meeting considered a number of seabird-related papers, two of which were submitted by ACAP. One of these papers (IOTC-2016-WPEB12-34, ACAP advice for reducing the impact of pelagic longline fishing operations on seabirds) by Anton Wolfaardt, Marco Favero and Nathan Walker summarised the latest ACAP best-practice advice for reducing seabird bycatch associated with pelagic longline fisheries. ACAP’s advice was updated most recently at the Ninth Meeting of its Advisory Committee (AC9) in May 2016 to modify the recommended line-weighting specifications, and to include in the list of best-practice mitigation measures two hook-shielding devices. These two devices encase the point and barb of baited hooks until a prescribed depth or immersion time has been reached, thus reducing the likelihood of seabirds becoming hooked.
The WPEB supported both aspects of the updated ACAP best-practice advice, and recommended that when the IOTC Seabird Conservation and Management Measure (Resolution 12/06 On reducing the incidental bycatch of seabirds in longline fisheries) is next reviewed, the line-weighting specifications be updated to conform with the latest ACAP advice. It further recommended that the two hook-shielding devices recommended by ACAP be incorporated as additional mitigation options. This recommendation by the WPEB will be further discussed and considered by the IOTC Scientific Committee, at its 19th Meeting to be held from 1-5 December this year in the Seychelles.
Click here to access the official report of WPEB12
Anton Wolfaardt, Convenor, ACAP Seabird Bycatch Working Group, 11 October 2016