Dragonflies at sea. A New Zealand company maps the at-sea distribution of seabirds seen from fishing vessels

Dragonfly Science, a specialist data analysis company based in Wellington, New Zealand has released a public website that maps the distribution of New Zealand seabirds (including ACAP-listed albatrosses and petrels) as recorded by government observers on board commercial fishing vessels.  Maps for each species or species group can be obtained for each year and season since 2004, and all the data can be downloaded for potential analysis.

“New Zealand is a global centre of seabird diversity, with over 80 species breeding either on the mainland or on offshore islands.  Seabirds are caught during both commercial and recreational fishing, and for some species these fatalities may threaten the viability of the populations.  Little is known about the distribution of seabirds in New Zealand waters.  Since 2004, government fisheries observers have carried out regular counts of the numbers of seabirds around fishing vessels. These data will allow a greater understanding of the interactions between seabirds and fishing vessels, which in turn will help in the management of fishing to reduce seabird bycatch.”

A Northern Royal Albatross guards its chick at Taiaroa Head

Photograph by Lyndon Perriman

Click here to access publications on interactions between seabirds and fisheries by Dragonfly Science.  Click here for a news item on Dragonfly Science’s 2013 report on the demography of Northern Royal Albatrosses Diomedea sanfordi at Taiaroa Head.

With thanks to Yvan Richard, Dragonfly Science for information.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 22 November 2013

The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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