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Results for seabirds, at sea
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  • Blog Post: Open sea to the dry desert

    Richard's Bay Over the last eight months I’ve been working off Richard's Bay, in the east coast of South Africa, collecting more data for the Albatross Task Force (ATF) research project which is seeking to determine how adding weight to the fishing line effects the catch rates of...
  • Blog Post: A life history that deserves respect

    Without doubt, the albatross are one of the groups of seabirds that need our greatest conservation effort. Commercial fisheries, through incidental capture, have generated a huge impact in many populations and almost all the species are currently in danger of extinction. As they spend the main part of...
  • Blog Post: My first trip

    I spent time at sea for my first trip as an instructor onboard a 35 m longline vessel. The trip was short, lasting just eight days, so we only managed to set three lines before returning to port. During my time onboard, I discussed the need to reduce the access of the seabirds to the baited hooks while...
  • Blog Post: Walking the plank

    My first day finally arrived with some anticipation but also with some excitement. This was the day I was to set sail onboard a commercial trawler for the first time. This was my training trip for my new job as an Instructor for the South African Albatross Task Force Team. After two trips to sea had...
  • Blog Post: Namibia helping conservation

    There are only two commercial harbours in Namibia: Walvis Bay to the north and Luderitz in the south. Sandwich harbour, a former fishing port, is now a proclaimed Ramsar site (i.e. a site designated for international protection due to its wetland wildlife importance). But, Walvis Bay is where we are...
  • Blog Post: A new challenge for the ATF in Chile

    By contrast to the well-studied trawl fisheries, the level of interaction between seabirds and purse-seine fleets remains to be unknown. This type of fishery in Chile uses nets with a small mesh size and targets pelagic fish species at the surface of the water. The nets are set in a circle, forming the...
  • Blog Post: Zero albatross killed thanks to ATF streamer lines!

    A few days ago I was in contact with a fishery observer who is at-sea aboard a longline vessel gathering biological data near Staten Island to the south of Argentina. This boat must now use mitigation measures; one of which is a bird-scaring line to reduce albatross mortality. The Federal Fisheries Council...
  • Blog Post: ATF South Africa join cruise ship MSC Opera to raise awareness for seabird conservation

    Every year BirdLife South Africa gathers a congregation of very knowledgeable scientists and birders to discuss issues around bird conservation. This annual gathering has since been coined ‘FLOCK’ and it is BirdLife South Africa’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). This year, however was...
  • Blog Post: They also have the right to live

    Among the activities that we conduct as ATF instructors, working with the crew aboard fishing vessels is the most difficult to accurately quantify. We can identify a seabird to species or sub-species level, record the exact times of fishing operations, statistically demonstrate the efficiency of mitigation...
  • Blog Post: Stranded at sea

    I have recently done three consecutive at-sea trips in order to test mitigation measures that reduce seabird by catch, so I have a lot of stories to tell! The trips were aboard the 18 m long, wooden longliner Anarthur. The Anarthur’s skipper is called Darke, who works in collaboration with Projeto...
  • Blog Post: Fishermen's tales

    I have recently returned after twelve days at-sea off the southeast coast of Brazil, where we were fishing for tuna in an area bordering our neighbours and friends from Uruguay. The zone is favoured for the convergence of cold and warm water fronts, which form further north reaching well into Brazilian...
  • Blog Post: Captain, there’s a bird in my bunk!

    Two weeks ago, when the vessel was fishing close to the Isla de los Estados , something strange happened. After having observed the morning haul, I went back to my cabin for a wash before lunch and was startled to find a bird that we are not used to seeing way out on the open ocean. It had neither...
  • Blog Post: The African Queen

    I was arranging a trip on a deep-sea hake trawler for routine seabird interaction data collection and mitigation measure demonstrations, which luckily gave rise to a trip on board the ‘African Queen’, one of the local deep-sea trawlers. On arrival, I was well received with great smiles...
  • Blog Post: A small success

    On 14 August, I drove from Cape Town to Mossel Bay (a small port on our eastern Cape coast) through storm-ravaged countryside to join an inshore hake trawl vessel. The following morning, Rowan the skipper welcomed me onboard his 15-metre, 48-tonne vessel with a crew of eight. I had a few trepidations...
  • Blog Post: Constantly on the move

    It's our third day at sea and the South Atlantic has been pretty kind to us. The wind seemed to be picking up as we left Stanley and the Falklands, raising a certain insistent noise through the rigging, but to little avail thus far, thankfully. Dolphins chased in the bow wave as we left the clean...
  • Blog Post: Sinking a few at-sea in Chile

    Between the 4 th August and 2 nd September two ATF Chile instructors (Rodrigo and myself!) took to the high seas onboard a Chilean pelagic longline vessel that fishes for swordfish. What was our mission? What was our objective? Well, we were doing what the Task Force does best: conducting experiments...
  • Blog Post: Seabird-fisheries interaction workshop in Argentina

    From the 30 th November to the 2 nd December 2010, the ATF in Argentina and the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata -CONICET organised the second intensive observer training course for Indentification and Recording of Seabird Interactions with Fisheries. The course was intended for fishery...
  • Blog Post: Patrolling our oceans

    Last week I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity (along with a member of WWF’s Responsible Fisheries Programme) to spend a few days at sea on the South African Government’s offshore patrol vessel. This trip was very different from my normal trips onboard the commercial fishing vessels...
  • Blog Post: Off to sea - at last

    Wednesday morning finds us in the BirdLife offices, when the phone goes. It is Barrie Rose. I can go, but I must let I&J review all my photos before I leave the country. I agree, put the phone down, and whoop for joy! We are finally going, and soon. Our vessel, the Aloe, departs this afternoon. ...
  • Blog Post: Modifications to Uruguayan bird-scaring lines

    The streamer line, also known as a bird-scaring or tori line is a mitigation measure that reduces seabird bycatch in longline fisheries. It is recommended that they be used in combination with night setting and line weighting. The efficiency of streamer lines has been demonstrated by our team in the...
  • Blog Post: Collaborative experiments in Uruguay

    I’m leaving for sea tomorrow on a tuna boat, hoping to have a good trip and that what I learn will be of use for the conservation of the seabirds we are working to protect. This trip is an experiment to investigate the efficiency of an under-water setting capsule to reduce, and possibly...
  • Blog Post: Caught on the haul

    Recently I returned from my first trip working with the Albatross Task Force aboard the pelagic longline vessel “Maria Letícia”, from Torquato Pontes Fish Company. This boat sailed under captain Celso, a very experienced captain who specializes in catching tunas. Captain Celso...
  • Media: fish supper

    hungry seagull at Bournemouth Beach (West Cliff)
  • Media: Gannets over rare underwater chalk habitat at Bempton

  • Media: Kittiwakes at Bempton Cliffs