Industry-based development of effective new seabird mitigation devices in the southern Australian trawl fisheries

Authors: 

Koopman, M., Boag, S., Tuck, G. N., Hudson, R., Knuckey, I., and Alderman, R.

Year: 

2018

Journal/Publisher Name: 

Endangered Species Research

Publisher Address: 

Inter-Research Science Publisher Nordbünte 23 21385 Oldendorf/Luhe, Germany

Volume (Issue #): 

36

Page #s: 

197-211

Contact information: 

Inter-Research Science Publisher Tel: (+49) (0)4132-7127
Summary: 

Fishing-related seabird mortalities are considered the most pervasive threat to seabird conservation status. Specifically, warp wire interactions (warp strike) and net captures of trawl vessels in Australia’s Commonwealth-managed Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark fisheries has been identified as a growing concern. This paper describes an industry-led study that developed and tested the effectiveness of 2 experimental mitigation devices for trawl vessels: a "baffler" and a "water sprayer". These were tested against a control which was previously the only prescribed device, called a "pinkie". Seabird interactions were observed during 69 tests comparing the "sprayer" against the control, and 55 tests comparing the "baffler" against the control. Both experimental mitigation devices showed significant reductions in heavy interaction rates (interactions per test) compared with the "pinkie" (83.7 and 58.9%). Based on the findings from this study, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority now allows vessels to meet seabird bycatch mitigation requirements through use of either new device.