Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Bird-scaring lines to be adopted in the USA’s Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery to help keep Short-tailed Albatrosses off the hook

The USA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has called for public comment on a proposal to make deployment of a bird-scaring line a requirement in its demersal longline fishery operating along the Pacific coasts of California, Oregon and Washington.

The summary of the notice in the Federal Register follows:

“This proposed rule would implement a Seabird Avoidance Program in the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery.  The proposed rule was recommended by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) in November 2013 and is specifically designed to minimize the take of ESA-listed short-tailed albatross (Phoebastria albatrus).  A 2012 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Biological Opinion required NMFS to initiate implementation of regulations within 2 years mandating the use of seabird avoidance measures by vessels greater than or equal to 55 feet length overall (LOA) using bottom longline gear to harvest groundfish.  The seabird avoidance measures, including streamer lines that deter birds from ingesting baited hooks, are modeled after a similar regulatory program in effect for the Alaskan groundfish fishery.”

Short-tailed Albatross at sea, photograph by Aleks Terauds

Click here to read the full account

Comments on the proposed rule must be received on or before 9 October 2014.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 27 September 2014