Seabird Interactions in the Pelagic Longline Fishery

An overview of seabird mitigation efforts in the Pacific Islands.

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Black-footed albatross.

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Blue-dyed bait being prepared for a Hawaiʻi longline commercial fishing trip. By dyeing the bait a specific shade of blue it makes it harder for the seabirds to spot in the water and helps to reduce seabirds from becoming hooked or entangled in fishing gear.

To help reduce harmful interactions with seabirds, fishermen in the Pacific Islands pelagic longline fisheries are required to comply with NOAA Fisheries’ seabird mitigation (avoidance and handling) requirements (see 50 CFR 665.815).

 
 

In 2000, NOAA Fisheries estimates there were nearly 2,500 seabird interactions in the Hawaiʻi longline fisheries. Since implementing a suite of seabird avoidance and handling requirements, the fishery has significantly reduced interactions with seabirds in the subsequent two decades. In 2016, the shallow-set fishery interacted with only 65 seabirds, and in the deep-set fishery, fewer than 700.

The seabird measures include:

 
 
  • Weighted branchlines 
  • Blue-dyed baits
  • Strategic offal discards
  • Mandatory night-setting
  • Specific baits for shallow-set fishing

Resources

document

Seabird Interactions and Mitigation Efforts in Hawaii Longline Fisheries, Annual Reports

The NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO) is responsible for minimizing, as practicable, interactions between Hawaii pelagic longline

Publications

Last updated by on December 09, 2019