Always be prepared - keep your seabird release kit on-board

Catching a seabird on a day’s fishing could happen to anyone as Sir John Kirwan and Graeme Sinclair found out, so be prepared...


“Recently ex-All Black Sir John Kirwan and I took our sons out for a day’s fishing and wouldn’t you know it – my son hooked a seabird,”  said Graeme Sinclair from Gone Fishin’.

“I felt terrible because we always try not to attract the seabirds when we have hooks in the water – these seabirds are precious.  It was a real learning experience for us because I didn’t have my bolt cutters on board to cut the hook out. So we cut the trace as close to the bird’s beak as possible and released it.” 

Graeme said; “the message for me was – always be prepared. If you use hooks (and we all do), make sure you have kit on-board to get one out of a seabird safely - a towel, scissors, net, pliers or small bolt cutters  - we’ve got to look after those seabirds.”

When asked about dealing with a hooked seabird, black petrel scientist Biz Bell said; “if you can get the hook out great but if not, it’s really important to cut the fishing line as close as possible to the seabird’s beak.  Seabirds can often survive a hook, but if they have fishing line still attached, they get tangled at their nests and will die of starvation.” 

Check out Gone Fishin’ with seabirds and our other resources for tips on keeping our seabirds safe.You can also download our Fish Seabird Smart card which includes guidelines on how to safely remove tackle and release a seabird, or email us and we'll send you a laminated one for your tackle box.