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Seabird By-Catch in Small-Scale Longline Fisheries in Northern Peru

Jaime Jahncke, Elisa Goya and Alex Guillen
Waterbirds: The International Journal of Waterbird Biology
Vol. 24, No. 1 (Apr., 2001), pp. 137-141
Published by: Waterbird Society
DOI: 10.2307/1522255
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1522255
Page Count: 5
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Seabird By-Catch in Small-Scale Longline Fisheries in Northern Peru
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Abstract

Longlining has been encouraged in Peru as an opportunity for small-scale fishermen to reduce cetacean mortality in gill nets. Very little is known about seabird by-catch in this longline fishery. In January 1999, we conducted surveys in five fishing villages in northern Peru to estimate seabird by-catch and 29 fishermen were interviewed. Eighty percent of the fishermen used frozen bait, which increases the probability of seabird mortality. Ninety percent of fishermen confirmed that birds are hooked while setting the gear. Additionally, we found that over 40% of hooked seabirds were albatrosses. The most common albatross off northern Peru is the Waved Albatross (Phoebastria irrorata) and about 60% of the population of the Chatham Island Albatross (Thalassarche eremita) winters off Peru. Both species are considered threatened due to their small population sizes. Seabird by-catch in the Peruvian small-scale longline fishery should be of conservation concern; pooled estimates of by-catch rates based on interviews were 1 to 2 birds/1,000 hooks. The estimated by-catch of albatrosses by the entire fleet is likely to lie between 2,370 and 5,610 birds each year, which represents between 5% and 13% of the pooled populations of the Waved and Chatham Island Albatrosses. Even though these numbers are extrapolations, they can be considered a rough indicator of the magnitude of the seabird by-catch by the small-scale longline fishery in Peru. Further research that includes onboard seabird by-catch surveys as well as a larger sample of interviews with fishermen are required. Public awareness that encourages the implementation of by-catch deterrence measures such as bird lines, night setting of hooks, and the use of fresh bait, will help reduce by-catch and bait loss, thus benefiting fishermen and promoting albatross conservation.

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