Bird bycatch is a very real risk in our South Georgia fishery. To dramatically reduce bird mortality rates, we take an array of special measures – from using innovative bottom-set longlines to fishing these grounds during winter when birds aren’t breeding and are under less pressure to feed. We also defrost our bait and weight our lines to ensure they sink as quickly as possible, while special bird-scaring lines keep them away from the hooks.
These measures have been very successful – bird mortality has been reduced to very low levels, as Dr Ben Sullivan, Coordinator at BirdLife Global Seabird Programme recognises:
“This fishery operates among huge colonies of breeding albatrosses and petrels which are highly vulnerable to bycatch, so the reduction of seabird mortality to low levels has been a major achievement. It is a credit to the operators and managers of the fishery – and the incentive provided by MSC certification is critical to replicating this success.”