Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

“Every day, hundreds of albatross die in longline fisheries. But there is a unique and exciting new solution to halt this. It's called a Hookpod. Hookpods stop birds getting caught as they dive for baits. They are effective, easy to use, safe and economic for fishermen. If every pelagic longline fishing fleet used Hookpods, I believe we can stop the accidental death of these magnificent ocean wanderers.” Sir David Attenborough. From Hookpod Ltd.

Hookpod reports:

“This simple device has now saved the lives of countless numbers of the worlds most beautiful and noble seabirds.”  Sir David Attenborough, June 2020

"A total of 15 vessels are now fishing commercially using Hookpods around the waters of New Zealand and we are delighted to report that there has been ZERO seabird bycatch when setting lines on these vessels. Since New Zealand changed its longline fishing regulations in January 2020, to allow the standalone use of the Hookpods to prevent seabird bycatch, there has been a gradual roll-out, equipping the surface longline fleet in national waters with Hookpods. 

It has been known, since scientific publication in 2017, from trials over 7 years 1, that the Hookpod is the most effective seabird bycatch mitigation measure available. However, to completely eliminate bycatch during setting in a commercial environment, is better than even we were expecting.

Sir David Attenborough, who was recently made aware of these developments, has written to the Hookpod team to congratulate us on this achievement. “This is truly thrilling news” he said. “Let us hope it is only a matter of time before Hookpods become universal”. 

Igor Debski, of the New Zealand Department of Conservation, said “New Zealand is a global seabird hotspot, and this presents particular challenges to avoiding bycatch during fishing. Hookpods have provided a welcome alternative option to mitigate seabird bycatch during the setting of pelagic longlines, and they have been readily adopted by many fishers. Early results are promising and have shown improved effectiveness compared to existing measures, which is helping New Zealand work towards zero bycatch.”

Hookpod CEO Becky Ingham is pleased with the results. “A total of 15 vessels are now fishing commercially using Hookpods around the waters of New Zealand and we are delighted to report that there has been ZERO seabird bycatch when setting lines on these vessels. These results mark a real milestone in seabird conservation” she said. “Work to eliminate seabird bycatch has been undertaken for many years, but never with this level of success in commercial operations.”

This is undoubtedly good news for seabirds. However, Hookpod are now looking for options to replicate this around the world in other fisheries. Hookpod still requires support and promotion from the world's conservation and seabird organisations to achieve the mutual goal of the elimination of seabird bycatch in pelagic longline fisheries.

 Thanks to Tamzin Henderson for her photography and the skipper and crew of the FV Commission for having her on board."

Reference:

Sullivan, B.J., Kibel, B., Kibel, P., Yates, O. et al. 2018.  At-sea trialling of the Hookpod: a ‘one-stop’ mitigation solution for seabird bycatch in pelagic longline fisheries.  Animal Conservation 21:159-167.

Posted 06 July 2020