14 October 2013

Yellowfin Tuna underwaterA new line weighting study in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery has shown a reduced risk to seabird capture with no influence on fish catch rate.

Previously, birds would try and eat the bait from the hooks of a long-line fishing vessels. Some would occasionally get caught and be dragged under the water. With this new weighting system, the baited hooks sink faster reducing the risk of seabirds taking the bait.

The study was completed in collaboration with the Australian Antarctic Division and the tuna fishing industry, with funding support from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. In addition to protecting seabirds, the new weighting system did not affect the live baits or catch rates for target species.

The new weights also have other benefits including improved crew safety, easier deployment, fewer line tangles, and they are quicker to build and are also easier for AFMA fisheries officers to inspect.

The new line weighting method is an exciting development in the tuna fishing industry and shows Australia’s ongoing commitment to maintaining the highest standards. The new weights are now commercially available and tuna fishers are beginning to use them in normal commercial fishing operations.

Click here to read our previous article about the new line weighting study, or contact Nigel Abery Senior Management Officer Tuna & International Fisheries on 02 6225 5303 or nigel.abery@afma.gov.au.