Fishing Crew Exchange with South America
17 March 2003
Two fishing-vessel crew members from Chile will train in New Zealand as part of a new initiative aimed at sharing information between southern hemisphere countries about successful techniques which lessen the risk of accidentally catching seabirds while fishing commercially on long-line vessels.
Many albatrosses and petrels breed in New Zealand and spend time out-of-breeding-season in South American waters. Passing on techniques in reducing seabird mortality to South American countries therefore helps better protect birds that share their time between the two areas.
The crew exchange programme, which is sponsored by Sanfords NZ, will train two senior crew- members from Chile, on board Sanford long-line vessels with experience in seabird mortality reduction techniques. They will then be in a position to train other South American fishers, and so spread the techniques through their national fishing industry. The New England Aquarium's Marine Conservation Action Fund has funded the programme, allowing for travel costs of the exchange candidates to be met.
The crew members will learn about effective designs of seabird scaring lines, ways to weight lines so they sink quickly, and the effect of limiting offal discharge while setting.
The programme has been developed by Southern Seabird Solutions, an alliance of New Zealand fishers, fishing industry representatives, environmental groups and government departments, including the Ministry of Fisheries and Department of Conservation. The group was formed last year to promote transfer of information and techniques between New Zealand and South Hemisphere parties interested in the conservation of seabirds at sea.
"This is a very positive step for seabird protection and promoting sustainable fisheries," said Susan Waugh, a Ministry of Fisheries researcher involved in the programme. "The real interest of this initiative is that it brings together government and industry people to work cooperatively on a very important sustainability issue for fisheries."
John Bennett, from Sanford Ltd, who will be hosting exchange candidates on the vessel he skippers, said he was looking forward to working with overseas fellow fishermen to pass on the knowledge and skills New Zealand had learnt.
"Education is one of the main steps in reducing accidental bird capture anywhere in the world, and we are only too pleased to be able to assist in transferring that to others, who can also make a difference."
For further information please contact
Dr Susan Waugh, Ministry of Fisheries, ph 04 470 2599
Janice Molloy, Southern Seabird Solutions, ph 04 470 0726