NOAA Office of General Counsel International Section, International Seabird Bycatch Mitigation

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International Seabird Bycatch Mitigation Efforts

Streamers on lines.
Photo 65: Streamers on lines.
(NOAA Photo Library.)

Seabirds migrate over a wide geographical area, often across national borders. As a result, bycatch mitigation measures implemented by a single country are generally insufficient to fully protect seabird populations. Recognizing this issue, the international community promulgated a number of agreements to help protect seabirds over the entirety of their migration paths, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s International Plan of Action to Prevent the Bycatch of Seabirds (IPOA-Seabirds).IPOA-Seabirds is a voluntary measure that calls on countries to develop plans of action to reduce seabird bycatch in longline fisheries. The United States was the first country to adopt a national plan of action, followed by Brazil, South Africa, Uruguay, Canada, Argentina, and Japan. Additionally, a number of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RMFOs) require or recommend the use of seabird bycatch mitigation measures in longline fisheries (see Additional References for outlines of these rule).

Photo 80: Southern giant petrel.
(NOAA Photo Library.)

The adoption of the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) by thirteen countries is another example of efforts from the international community to protect especially vulnerable seabird populations.

Related News Articles

1. (Dec. 25, 2011) Indian Ocean Tuna Commission’s Scientific Committee recommends adoption of best practice seabird mitigation measures proposed by ACAP. The final report is also available.

2. (Nov. 29, 2011) Convention on Migratory Species adopts resolutions on bycatch in gill nets and on marine debris.

3. (Nov. 29, 2011) ICCAT Commission meeting adopts a supplemental seabird recommendation in the South Atlantic.

4. (Nov. 29, 2011) Japanese fishing master wins WWF Smart Gear prizes for double-weight branch line to save albatrosses and petrels.

5. (Nov. 17, 2011) Hook pod trials conducted off Brazil will help to keep albatrosses and petrels safe at sea.

6. (Oct. 15, 2011) Seabird mitigation measures for longline, trawl and gillnet fisheries reviewed. What is best practice?

Additional reference information:Some of these links are to external sites.