Efforts to help reduce the number of Vulnerable and ACAP-listed Black Petrel Procellaria parkinsoni being accidentally killed during commercial fishing have earned Leigh Fisheries NZ Operations Manager Tom Searle one of four Seabird Smart Awards for 2015 from the Southern Seabird Solutions Trust.
Black Petrel at sea, photograph by Biz Bell
Tom Searle has ensured that around 35 long-line skippers, almost all the company does business with, have attended a Seabird Smart training workshop on how to reduce bycatch, along with helping prepare seabird risk management plans for each vessel. He has also helped coordinate trips for fishers to the breeding colony of Black Petrels on Great Barrier Island.
"Rules and regulations are all well and good but it is the fishers themselves who are out there interacting with the birds who have to take personal responsibility to reduce seabird captures." Two seabird liaison officers now talk to long-line vessel owners, skippers and crews and give advice on techniques and equipment that can be used to reduce seabird bycatch.
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John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 07 December 2015