Hello companions, it is with great satisfaction that I'm sharing with you my activities. As Martin Abreu, an Albatross Task Force member working in Brazil, said recently, we are at such an 'important moment'. The Brazilian and Uruguay Albatross Task Forces are working together so we can find the best techniques to save birds in our fishing areas.
So, I've just got back from my first pilot cruise to test equipment. I had to get onboard a vessel from the Itajaí fleet on the Kospesca IV. I took with me differently configured bird scaring lines - one just with short streamers, another one with short streamers plus additional long ones, and both of these configurations made with two different mainline materials (one nylon monofilament and the other 'palhinha' braided rope).
I also took four types of towed device that help extend the length of the bird scaring line over the water - to do this I'm trialling a bulk rope, rigid streamers, a road cone (yes, really) and a tube device with a cone.
During the cruise, the skipper said he liked using palhinha material over nylon as it didn't require five fishermen to haul in the bird scaring line. It is important to remember that this same nylon bird scaring line was designed in collaboration with other skippers. So you guys can begin to understand how hard it is to keep everyone happy all the time...
Some skippers prefer one kind of material, but others prefer a different one. It's really hard to convince them of these changes.
As for the towed devices I was testing, the skipper only allowed me to experiment while we were sailing to the fishing grounds, not during the longline setting - he was afraid to have any kind of entanglement.
The rigid streamers and the bulk rope have a very similar effectiveness, improving the area covered, but the rigid streamers have an effect on the surface of the water, creating a disturbance.
The road cone and the tube device gave a larger covered area than the rigid streamers and the bulk rope. The tube didn't work well, as it was unstable, with peaks, and the cone gave a good tension and disturbs the surface similar to the rigid streamers.
What next, you ask? Our Uruguayan companions are now at sea conducting similar tests, but acting on the results of my trip. But they will be in a research vessel, so everything will be much more controllable. We are all awaiting to share the good news they will bring from the sea! Good work for us and a safe life to the albatrosses!