Unsupported Browser Detected

Internet Explorer lacks support for the features of this website. For the best experience, please use a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox, or Edge.

Seabird Interactions in the Pelagic Longline Fishery

An overview of seabird mitigation efforts in the Pacific Islands.

A black footed albatross with its wings extended in flight, as it flies over the ocean. Black-footed albatross in flight.
A rope with streamers attached, called a tori line, is being towed behind a deep-set Hawaiʻi longline commercial fishing vessel.
Aerial portion of tori line being towed behind a deep-set Hawaiʻi longline commercial fishing vessel. Towing this line behind the vessel during setting operations interrupts seabird flight patterns. The line makes it more difficult for the birds to dive on sinking, baited hooks—reducing opportunities for them to become hooked or entangled in the fishing gear.


To help reduce harmful interactions with seabirds encountered during longline fishing operations, 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 beginning in 2001, the fishery has significantly reduced the number of interactions with seabirds. In 2022, the shallow-set fishery interacted with only 109 seabirds, and in the deep-set fishery, there were an estimated 641 interactions. 

NOAA Fisheries strives to continue to reduce harmful interactions within the Hawaiʻi longline fisheries by continuing to research and develop effective mitigation techniques. In 2024, we announced new regulations for the deep-set tuna fishery requiring a tori line, or streamer line, in place of less effective requirements. Field trials demonstrated that the tori lines are significantly more effective in deterring seabirds from the fishing bait than the existing measures and will further protect seabirds in the fishery.

Longline vessel owners and operators are also required to attend a Protected Species Workshop once a year to ensure that they are well versed on the most up-to-date interaction mitigation techniques for protected species including seabirds.

Current measures to protect seabirds include:

  • Weighted branchlines
  • Tori lines
  • Side-setting with a bird curtain
  • Night-setting 
  • Blue-dyed baits
  • Strategic offal discards
  • Specific fish-type baits
  • Best practices for seabird handling and release



Compliance Guide: Reducing and Mitigating Interactions between Seabirds and Hawaiʻi-Based Longline Vessels

This guide is intended to help commercial fishermen understand and comply with federal fishing requirements regarding seabird protection in the…


Annual Reports – Seabird Interactions and Mitigation Efforts in Hawaiʻi Longline Fisheries

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



The Factors Influencing Albatross Interactions in the Hawaii Longline Fishery: Towards Identifying Drivers and Quantifying Impacts

The Hawaii longline fishery has been required to use seabird mitigation measures under the Pacific Pelagic Fishery Management Plan (current Fishery…


Performance Assessment of Underwater Setting Chutes, Side Setting, and Blue-Dyed Bait to Minimize Seabird Mortality in Hawaii Longline Tuna and Swordfish Fisheries

Mortality in longline fisheries is one of the most critical global threats to seabirds. Underwater setting technology may offer a practicable…

Last updated by Pacific Islands Regional Office on April 05, 2024