Fishers and yellow-eyed penguin star in new DVD
A short film highlighting Otago fishers and conservation organisations working together to save seabirds was recently launched by the Minister of Conservation, the Hon Dr Nick Smith at the Royal Albatross Centre on the Otago Peninsula.30.09.2014
The film follows Otago fishers from the Port Chalmers Fishermen’s Cooperative as they crawl through nettles and gorse to retrieve yellow-eyed penguin chicks as part of the joint Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust and local Department of Conservation monitoring programme. It also highlights existing mitigation measures used by the fishers to minimise the risks to seabirds.
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Ant Smith, a local Dunedin skipper, has a starring role in the film, and took Dave McFarlane of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust out for a day on his vessel.
“We don’t want to catch seabirds and have come up with some simple but effective ways to avoid them,” says Ant. That includes making sure all offal is kept on board in bins until the fishing gear is out of the risk zone for seabirds and an innovative ‘cone’ invented by the Mitchell brothers from Timaru, to keep seabirds safe around the trawl wires.
For Dave McFarlane the fishing experience proved invaluable. “Seeing how the fishermen worked in their environment and the mitigation techniques they use now to try and reduce the interaction with seabirds was a great experience.”
Janice Molloy Southern Seabird Solutions Trust Convenor says that looking after our remaining colonies of seabirds needs a joint effort so that we can reduce both land and sea-based threats.
“Government agencies, community groups, scientists and fishers all have a part to play and we all need to support them. Check out the new video – it’s a great story and we hope it will help motivate others to do their bit to care for our precious seabirds – after all, it’s the kiwi thing to do!”
Southern Seabird Solutions Trust wishes to thank all the sponsors and organisations that helped make this production possible.