Napier Commercial Fishermen Promote Seabird Smart Fishing

Commercial fishers out of Napier recently completed a seabird Smart Fishing training workshop.

Commercial fishers swapped tips and techniques to keep seabirds away from their boats during a one-day workshop in Napier this month.


Pat Reid of the Area 2 Inshore Finfish Management Company who helped organise the event was pleased with the turnout of local skippers and crew. "Local fishermen are already aware of the need to keep seabirds safe from harm and this event offered a good chance to share their knowledge of what works and also get the most up-to-date information about seabirds," she says.


The workshop is part of a wider Seabird Smart Training Programme run by Southern Seabird Solutions Trust to increase the knowledge base and understanding inshore commercial fishers have about reducing fishing-related seabird injuries or death. The programme also involves organising opportunities for fishers to visit seabird colonies and swap ideas with scientists about land-based and sea-based seabird habits.  The Trust has produced videos about the seabird colony visits that are used to compliment the training material in the workshops.


Southern Seabird Solutions Convenor Janice Molloy says seabirds have learned to forage for food at the back of trawl and longline fishing vessels, which places them at risk of being caught on hooks or tangled in nets or trawl gear. "Seabird-smart fishing makes good sense because it's practical, helps keep seabirds safe, and it doesn't get in the way of achieving a good catch," she says. "We're delighted to be working with local fishers to make a difference to seabird conservation. "The content of each workshop is tailored to the needs of the particular fishing fleet attending.


In the Central East Area, fishing vessels tend to be generally smaller and use a mix of fishing methods such as trawling, trolling and long-lining, Pat points out, so they had plenty to talk about. 


The workshop is being funded by quota owners of the Area 2 Inshore Finfish Management Company, the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Department of Conservation.