Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

A Shy Albatross flies free with an ingested fishing line off Australia

On 13 June 2015 Rob Hyson photographed an adult Shy Albatross Thalassarche cauta with at least a metre of fishing line bearing a weight dangling from its bill while participating in an ocean-going trip organized by Sydney Pelagics & Nature Watching Tours out of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


A Shy Albatross flies with a trailing fishing line, photograph by Rob Hyson

It seems likely that the bird had ingested a longline hook, probably during line hauling, and had then been cut loose as it came aboard the fishing vessel.  Albatrosses of several species with ingested or embedded hooks have been seen from time to time at their breeding sites but it is rare to spot – and then photograph – one in flight at sea.

Widespread adoption of the best-practice mitigation measures of deploying bird-scaring lines, adequate line weighting and night setting, as advocated by ACAP, will greatly reduce the mortality of albatrosses from both pelagic and demersal longline fishing.

Click here for the trip report for 13 June.

With thanks to Rob Hyson for information and photographs.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 25 August 2015