The USA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has reported the incidental take of a Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus by a demersal longliner in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Management Area on 25 October 2011 at 56° 35'N; 172° 52'W. The albatross was banded, identifying it as a two-year old from Japan's Torishima Island (click here).
The last two fishery-induced mortalities of Short-tailed Albatrosses in Alaskan waters were in August and September 2010. The August 2010 bird was located very close to this recent take. For a report of fishery-induced mortality of a Short-tailed Albatross in US waters outside Alaska earlier this year click here.
The Short-tailed Albatross is protected by the USA's Endangered Species Act (ESA). As a result of consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) under the ESA, USFWS issued an incidental take statement of four birds during each two-year period for the BSAI and Gulf of Alaska (GOA) hook-and-line groundfish fisheries. In instances where the amount or extent of incidental take is exceeded, reinitiation of formal ESA consultation is required.
This is the first take in the two-year period that began on 16 September 2011. To date, the incidental take levels have not been reached during the current or any previous two-year period. NMFS has reminded operators of longliners in the BSAI and GOA management areas that they are required to employ multiple seabird avoidance measures. Detailed information on those measures (primarily the use of either single (smaller vessels) or paired (larger vessels) bird-scaring lines during setting) is available at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/seabirds/guide.htm. Additionally, birds caught alive must be released if deemed healthy enough to do so.
Click here for more information including a map of all nine recorded Short-tailed Albatross fatalities in the BSAI Management Area.
John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 6 November 2011