AFMA is working with industry members and other stakeholders to reduce the accidental catch of seabirds on demersal (bottom) longlines.
Fishers must comply with a number of rules to reduce the risk of seabirds being injured or killed by fishing gear. For example, demersal longline fishers must not discharge fish offal whilst setting and hauling lines to avoid attracting seabirds. Auto-longline operators are also required to use a device called a tori line that deters birds when setting gear.
Additional mitigation measures will be implemented by 1 August 2013 to further reduce the risk to seabirds. These include excluding them fishing for a period of time if they exceed an individual rate. This will encourage operators to use their skills and experience and work collaboratively with AFMA to minimise interactions.
Other measures being considered include ‘brickle curtains’ to scare seabirds away when bringing lines in, specifying a sink rate for the gear during setting to ensure baits sink quickly and seeking scientific advice to review and update tori line specifications.
AFMA will also be holding an educational workshop with affected fishing operators in July to provide support and training on seabird mitigation.
For more information please contact George Day, Senior Manager Demersal and Midwater fisheries on (02) 6225 5331 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.