Otago fishermen become expert “penguin wranglers"

Five Otago fishermen recently joined the Yellow-Eyed Penguin Trust and the Department of Conservation to help measure and weigh yellow-eyed penguin chicks in the Catlins.


The fishermen learnt how to catch, measure and weigh the chicks and were a huge help to the penguin team.

Dave McFarlane, Field Manager for the Yellow-Eyed Penguin Trust was impressed with the way the fishermen got stuck in.  “The nettles didn’t put them off crawling into the undergrowth to catch the chicks. They were keen to learn everything they could. We each have knowledge to share that can help better conserve the species.”

Ant Smith, President of the Port Chalmers Fishermen’s Association said “We really enjoyed learning about the land habits of the penguins we see torpedoing past our boats on the way to their feeding grounds. This year the chicks are very underweight and it is interesting to equate that to what we’re noticing at sea”.

Both the Trust and the fishermen are keen to continue to work together to help yellow-eyed penguins thrive on the Otago coast.

The trip was filmed as part of a DVD being produced to increase the awareness and understanding of seabirds for South Island fisheries management.

The DVD is being sponsored by the NZ Federation of Commercial Fishermen, Southern Inshore Fisheries Management Company, the Port Chalmers Fishermen's Co-op and the Yellow-Eyed Penguin Trust. Significant in-kind support has been provided by the Department of Conservation. 

This is the second trip Southern Seabird Solutions has organized for fishermen to help with seabird research. During the first trip, Hauraki Gulf fishermen helped monitor black petrels on Great Barrier Island. See southernseabirds.org/sharing-the-gulf-dvd/

Click here to read the article about the trip written in the Otago Daily Times

To help Southern Seabirds continue this important work and find out about sponsorship opportunities please contact: kirsten@southernseabirds.org