Bird Exclusion Devices (BEDs), also known as brickle curtains, restrict access to the hauling area while demersal longlines are being retrieved, helping to reduce seabird interactions.
Fishing operations and seabird foraging zones overlap. Seabirds are attracted to fishing boats as they recognise them as a source of food.
Seabirds can get caught during both setting and hauling.
- During line setting – seabirds may attack baits on the surface or underwater to about 10 metres and become hooked or entangled in the fishing gear and drown.
- During line hauling – seabirds may attack leftover baits as the catch is brought on board. Birds may become hooked or entangled and injured or killed.
BEDs form a physical and visual barrier around the area where line hauling occurs and prevent seabirds from accessing baited hooks during line hauling.
The BED contains a string of floats which encircle the line hauling area on the surface. Attached to the floats are a series of ropes which run up to a headline. The device is suspended from one or two booms which extent perpendicular to the side of the vessel.
Deploying BEDs is mandatory for all auto-longline fishers, which includes the auto-longline sector of the SESSF and Antarctic longline fisheries.