the first global estimate of seabird bycatch in gillnet fisheries, and the study’s
authors say that these figures should be viewed as a minimum estimate because
of the gaps in data and other factors like ‘ghost fishing’, where lost fishing
gear continues to capture birds.
Marine biologist Dr
who published the study with BirdLife scientists said,
“Unlike longline and trawl fisheries, for which there are simple technical
solutions available to reduce seabird bycatch, research into similar measures
for gillnets has been very limited to date and further efforts are urgently
generally made from fine nylon, making them virtually invisible underwater
which poses a problem for diving seabirds, which become entangled.
levels of seabirds were found to be highest in the Baltic Sea, where an
estimated 76,000 birds are killed each year, in Nordic regions and the
Northwest Pacific Ocean.
Plan of Action, launched last November to minimise the bycatch of seabirds in
fishing gears, highlighted gillnets as a priority for action. However, this
plan is essentially voluntary, so BirdLife is calling for binding measures to
be delivered under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) to improve data collection
and provide funding for research into how best to prevent seabirds being killed
Crawford, Senior Policy Officer at BirdLife’s Global Seabird Programme said, “Gillnet
bycatch – the sleeping giant of seabird threats – must now be tackled with the