Seabird SMART skippers on the water in time for the new fishing year

Fishing companies Sanford Ltd, Leigh Fisheries and Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd are ensuring their bottom longline skippers fishing in FMA 1 (Fisheries Management Area 1) have attended a Seabird Smart Training workshop prior to the start of the new fishing season in October 2015.


“This commitment is a significant step towards ensuring all commercial longline fishers who fish in black petrel foraging areas have the knowledge and capability to safeguard seabirds whilst fishing” says Janice Molloy, Convener of Southern Seabird Solutions Trust.

“Not only have these companies made this commitment, they have also required skippers to have seabird management plans onboard that clearly outline the practices and procedures skippers and crew will use on the water to reduce any harm to seabirds. “

The commitment is one of the actions stemming from the pledge signed in late 2014 by fishing companies, government, the Hauraki Gulf Forum and environmental NGO’s to take steps to reduce any harm to black petrel caused by fishing in FMA 1 (the fishing area between North Cape and East Cape).

“Everyone involved in our Black Petrel Working Group is serious about improving the outlook for this rare species and this winter everyone has really stepped up to the mark.  By the time the black petrel returns to NZ from South America in October, we hope to have the large majority of commercial skippers in FMA 1 trained. We are also working hard with recreational anglers and charter operators to provide the understanding and information they need to do their bit too.”

A further action currently underway is the trial of cameras onboard fishing vessels to monitor and record any seabirds caught during operations.  A report on this work will be available late 2015.