Southern Seabird Solutions runs a series of projects each year aimed at reducing harm to seabirds from fishing. We take a collaborative approach to our project work and each year have the opportunity to work with a fantastic and committed range of fishers, iwi, scientists, anglers, fishing companies, agency staff and other organisations.
Our projects are generated from our Strategic Plan 2016-2020 and reported annually via our Annual Report. Our projects are financed and resourced via sponsorship and significant in-kind support.
Seabird Smart Fishing Workshops for Skippers and Crew
Over the past five years we have run a series of interactive workshops around the country for inshore commercial fishers. The workshops aim to build on fishers knowledge of local seabird species and seasonal patterns, provide up to date information on mitigation devices and practices, and build an understanding of why and how looking after seabirds is part of everyday fishing practice. Over 210 fishers have attended workshops to date. Further detail on Seabird Smart Training Workshops
Seabird Smart Workshops are jointly funded by DOC, MPI and fishing companies/associations.
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FMA1 Collaborative Black Petrel Working Group
Fisheries Management Area 1 (FMA1) covers inshore waters from East Cape to North Cape. It is an important fishing area for both commercial and recreational fishers. It is also a significant feeding and breeding ground for the rare black petrel.
In 2014 Southern Seabird Solutions set up a collaborative working group including iwi, staff from the fishing companies, government agencies and NGOs with an interest in FMA1. The group signed a pledge to reduce the risk to seabirds from fishing and has undertaken several initiatives towards this goal. For the start of the 2016/17 fishing season (1 October), almost all skippers on vessels in the area will have completed Seabird Smart Fishing Training and have Seabird Management Plans on-board.
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Seabird Smart Recreational Fishing Culture
In the past two years the Trust has stepped up its recreational fishing programme thanks to funding and support from the Department of Conservation, Ministry for Primary Industries, and organisation's and individuals in the recreational fishing sector. With this support, we have been able to attend several boating events, visit fishing clubs, run media articles, produced a series resources for anglers and talk with hundreds of anglers about seabird smart fishing.
Our focus in 2017 is to continue to build support for seabird smart recreational fishing messages and ultimately reduce the rate of capture of seabirds by anglers.
Sponsors of our 2017 recreational fishing work include Waikato Regional Council Environmental Enhancement Fund, the Pacific Development and Conservation Trust and Ministry for Primary Industries.
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Seabird Smart Awards
Every two years we run our National Seabird Smart Awards.
The Awards are an opportunity to recognise leaders and highlight the efforts being made by fishers and those involved with the fishing industry to look after New Zealand seabirds.
Seabird Colony Visits
Since 2013 fishers have been crawling through undergrowth, stretching their arms down burrows, and getting bitten by seabirds, all in the name of science. Southern Seabirds facilitates these trips as part of our Seabird Smart Training Programme. The trips have won over many fishers to the specialness of seabirds and have also enabled fishers and seabird scientists to share their knowledge. Some fishers have returned year after year to help out. Fishers have weighed and banded young black petrel on Great Barrier Island/Aotea, set up acoustic monitoring devices on Little Barrier Island/Hauturu, cradled yellow-eyed penguin chicks and spent an evening with Westland black petrel.
In 2017, in addition to these more regular trips, we hope to visit Ohinau (Mercury Islands Group) and other colonies in the South Island.
Stock-take of Seabird Mitigation
Fishers need practical mitigation devices and practices that are effective across the range of sea conditions they face. Over the past 10 years, the Trust has run the International Mitigation Mentor Programme to support development of new mitigation devices for the fishing vessels. Two devices, the Kellian line setter and the underwater bait setter, continue to be progressed under this programme.
In 2016 we carried out a stock-take of seabird mitigation methods relevant to NZ to identify which fisheries are still lacking in practical mitigation options and which new mitigation ideas show most promise. A more in-depth review of the promising mitigations and additional research required will be undertaken in 2017.
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High Sea's Fishing Vessel Resources
In 2016, we designed a resource pack and 'Catch Fish Not Seabirds' T-shirts for the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) international fisheries inspections on high seas vessels. We will continue this work in 2017.