Friday, April 19, 2024

Namibia: Amazing albatrosses – ‘scarecrows’ cut seabird deaths by 98%


Conservationists and fishermen in Namibia have reduced the accidental deaths of seabirds including endangered albatrosses, from up to 30,000 per year more than a decade ago, to just 215 at the last count: and it’s all down to the simplest of bird scarers.

Namibia’s fishing fleet searching for hake and horse mackerel along its 1,500 kilometre-long coastline was until recently considered among the most deadly in the world for seabirds.

Normally, when fishing boats put out their nets and and baited hooks, draw them in, or discard fishing waste — they are a magnet for seabirds, many of which collide with the wrap cables drawn behind trawlers or get caught on the hooks of longline fishing boats.

But in 2015 Namibia adopted new regulations that require all hake fishing vessels to use bird-scaring lines, a sort of nautical scarecrow, and other measures to protect birds from fatal encounters with fishing gear.

The 98.4 percent reduction in seabird mortality between 2009-2018 is an “absolutely amazing” achievement, said Titus Shaanika, a member of the Albatross Task Force (ATF) based in Walvis Bay. Read more…

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