Guy Shorrock (rspb-images.com)
I was excited to read that last week the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) made a landmark decision - all longline vessels in the Indian Ocean will now be required to use two seabird bycatch mitigation measures. This follows a similar decision made by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) last November.
This is great news for albatrosses, who often get caught on longline hooks - it is estimated that over 300,000 seabirds are accidentally killed in this way every year. It is believed this is the primary reason behind 17 of the world’s 22 species of albatrosses being threatened with extinction. The mitigation options are simple; fishermen can choose from using tori lines (bird streamers which scare birds away from the hooks), or they can add weights to hooks to make them sink more quickly or set their hooks at night when most birds are less active. The RSPB - with your support - has played a major role in devising and testing technologies and fishing practices to reduce the problem. Getting legislation in place is an important next step towards bringing these iconic ocean wanderers back from the brink of oblivion.
Successes like these are addictive - its great to see progress, and know that what we are doing is really making a difference. There's more to do, but together we will Save the Albatross.
Find out more about our Save the Albatross campaign, and how you can help, at http://www.rspb.org.uk/albatross