New Zealand tori line research adopted as international best practice

The outcome of New Zealand research on tori lines has been adopted as international best practice by the Seabird Bycatch Working Group of the international Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels ( ... read more.


The Working Group met in France in May, adopting recommendations that came from New Zealand trials in trawl fisheries.  

Minimum standards were set for attaching bird-scaring lines above and outside warp lines, which the standard states “greatly reduces the access of birds to the danger zone”.  It includes a recommendation that Kraton, a bright orange, high-performance elastomer tubing, or a similar material, be used for streamers.  As well as recommending that  Kraton, or a similar material, be used for streamers, the ideal is to anchor tori lines with buoys or cones, and that there be five metres of backbone for each metre of trawl block height.

Igor Debski, Department of Conservation Science Advisor, who represented New Zealand at La Rochelle, says of the streamers’ trials, “Work such as ours contributes to ongoing improvement. In particular there was a strong operational focus on finding materials that increase the durability and colour-fastness of streamers, and reduce tangling. This means fishers can have access to cost-effective, long lasting and efficient mitigation options”.

Seabirds avoid Kraton curtains

New Zealand trawler operators have bought out completely the first consignment of imported Kraton tubing, to use as streamers on tori lines, in the past two months.

Kraton looks to be an ideal replacement for the luminous tubing that has been standard in the New Zealand fleet as streamers for scaring seabirds, such as albatross and petrels, away from trawler warp wires.

The Deepwater Group’s John Cleal says that while the cost of 10mm Kraton is five times that of the material it replaces, it is far more effective and durable, so needs replacing much less often.  “Around a third of the deepwater trawl fleet is now using Kraton, and within the next few months I expect all 30-odd of these trawlers to replace their worn-out materials with these streamers,” Cleal says.

Ed Melvin says the US doesn’t regulate for seabird capture mitigation in the US trawl fleet, but all the long-line fleets use birdscaring lines with Kraton or its equivalent.

Source:  Seafood New Zealand, August 2013