A ten-year update of seabird bycatch in the demersal longline fishery off Argentina

Marco Favero (Grupo Vertebrados, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina and ACAP Advisory Committee Chair) and colleagues have looked at seabird bycatch in the demersal longline fishery off Argentina in the period between 2001 and 2010.  Their findings have been published recently in the online version of Endangered Species Research.

The paper's English abstract follows:

"Seabird mortality associated with fisheries is one of the major threats leading to population decreases of certain species, particularly albatrosses and petrels.  The present study was conducted to (1) analyze seabird bycatch in the Argentinean demersal longline fishery during the decade 2001 to 2010, (2) provide a baseline of the levels of incidental mortality prior to the implementation of the National Plan of Action-Seabirds, and (3) characterize in space and time the occurrence and intensity of seabird mortality.  Fishing effort decreased from some 30 million to 5 million hooks set per year, and the overall bycatch rate for the whole period was 0.033 (0.019 SE) birds per 1000 hooks.  The estimated total mortality for the 10 yr period was 7470 ± 2449 seabirds, the majority being black-browed albatrosses and white-chinned petrels.  Seabird mortalities decreased by 1 order of magnitude towards the end of the decade, not due to lower bycatch rates but to a drop in the number of hooks set per year.  The progress achieved so far in Argentina is important, but if seabird bycatch is to be reduced to negligible levels, it is imperative that the National Plan of Action-Seabirds is effectively implemented and that the longline fishery comply with the conservation measure calling for the use of mitigation methods that came into effect in 2010.  Other management-related actions, such as the increase of capacities within the National Observer Program and the refinement of seabird sampling protocols, will have an effect not only in the longline but also in the large trawl fishery, where seabird bycatch has also been documented".

black-browed albatross flying by juan pablo seco pon
Black-browed Albatross.  Photograph by Juan Pablo Seco Pon


Favero, M., Blanco, G., Copello, S., Seco Pon, J.P., Patterlini, C., Mariano-Jelicich, R., García, G. & Berón, P. 2013.  Seabird bycatch in the Argentinean demersal longline fishery, 2001-2010.  Endangered Species Research 19: 187-199.

Juan Pablo Seco Pon, South American News Correspondent, 3 February 2013

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