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.
of the seabirds,
This year has been amazing; rough seas, wonderful
birds, good boat crews and a lot of positive energy within the Brazilian
Albatross Task Force team. The challenges faced working onboard have been the most
difficult we’ve faced so far, testing a combination of tori lines (bird-scaring
lines) and line weighting placed at different distances in relation to the hook
to keep fishing operations safer for seabirds.
But let's start with my recent trip. As the senior
ATF instructor from the Projeto Albatroz team I already know a lot of fishing
captains. On a recent visit to a local fishing company, I met up
with captain Daniel Vaz who has always been keen to help out, but until now
circumstance had prevented us going to sea together. We talked
about our current work how his crew could support our experiments.
the deck boson over and said the following sentence and said to him: "After
you and I this vessel will also be under the command of Fabiano, give him all
the help he wants and make all the changes that he needs”. I was greatly
honoured and at the same time felt a huge responsibility. Daniel then
announced we were ready to head out to sea and as one single entity, all the fishermen
took out their cell phones and called their wives.
While we steamed out to the fishing grounds we built
the fishing gear for the experiment. I
was left to direct the effort and we worked hard to make sure everything was
ready for the first set. As we worked I explained
to everyone how we would need to arrange ourselves on deck and handle the
slightly different gear configurations.
On the first day fishing, while I was preparing my
notes I got a pleasant surprise as the crew had the tori line in the water and
it was working beautifully. There were many albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels
around so this was a real bonus. I asked the fishermen who had deployed the toriline and
they replied immediately: 'The captain."
I went up to
the bridge and he was smiling broadly and said: “At first I didn’t think that the
tori line would work, but when I deployed it and saw all the albatross moving
away from the stern of the boat, I was surprised to see how effective it is”.
comment I knew I’d found another great friend and helped one more person
believe in a world where we can protect nature.