Thousands of albatrosses die needlessly every year as the victims of longling fishing. They are attracted to the baited hooks, get caught and are dragged under the water and drown.
Fishermen are often unaware of the simple, cost effective techniques that when used rapidly reduce albatross deaths.
In 2005, along with a number of our BirdLife International partners, the Albatross Task Force was formed. These men and women are the world's first international team of skilled, at-sea instructors.
Since their formation, there have been a dramatic reduction in the numbers of albatross and other seabirds killed. This is a sure sign that Albatross Task Force members really are getting something practical done to help save albatrosses from extinction.
This blog follows the trials and tribulations of the Albatross Task Force as they work onshore and at sea, spreading the message about these life-saving techniques.
At the moment I am in between two trips.
I have just spent a week in the wonderful town of Walvis Bay, Namibia.
Walvis Bay holds the biggest fleet of hake longliners in Namibia, along with a large number of trawlers and open-sea long-liners operating from there. Namibia has adopted a National Plan of Action to reduce seabird deaths and therefore is obliged to work on this subject.
Unfortunately, we have very little data on the subject from our northern neighbour and so I found myself running around in the harbour, looking for skippers to interview.
A very important part of our work is meeting and interviewing skippers. This gives us insight into their world and opinions on the issue. It also gives us an idea on what is happening out there at sea and a chance to teach them ways to reduce bird mortality.
I received a warm welcome and met 13 skippers and some other fishing company managers. They all happily agreed to be interviewed and helped me so much in trying to get an idea on the seabird deaths in Namibian waters.
A very important objective of this trip was to try to arrange a trip to sea with one of the longliners and as it seems I am going to go back to that wonderful country on the first week of November.
This time I'm going to Luderitz, in south Namibia. I will be going with the Spencer, a hake longliner, hopefully for a few trips in order to collect data and see with my own eyes what is going on there and come back with a better understanding.