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Mortality in commercial fisheries is a global threat to some seabird populations, especially albatrosses. Fortunately, there are solutions to minimize impact. We are working to reduce seabird interactions with commercial fisheries in the North Pacific.
Part of this work involves compiling current data on albatross distribution, relying prominently on our extensive satellite tracking database, to integrate with commercial fishing effort and seabird bycatch data in Alaska and the U.S. West Coast fisheries. We also are working with collaborators at Washington Sea Grant to conduct retrospective analyses of bycatch rates in observed Alaskan fisheries from 1998-2014. Both of these efforts allow for identification of fisheries and regions most in need of targeted mitigation and renewed outreach efforts. Based on our results, we are currently working to engage the longline fleet in Alaska through targeted port-based workshops on seabird bycatch avoidance.
Since 2013, we have collaborated directly with longline fishermen on the U.S. West Coast and Alaska to better understand the unique fishing practices in this fleet and assess the effectiveness of mitigation strategies. For more information and handouts on fisheries bycatch issues visit the Washington Sea Grant website. Much of the efforts on seabird-fisheries interactions in the North Pacific is motivated by conservation concerns about the Endangered short-tailed albatross. To learn more about short-tailed albatross biology and conservation efforts, please visit the USFWS website, Short-tailed Albatross Central.
Results of our work have been used in establishing or modifying seabird bycatch mitgation measures for North Pacific fisheries. Through all of these efforts we hope to promote the conservation of seabirds through reduced bycatch and help prevent bait loss for fishers, thereby increasing targeted fish catch-per-unit-effort.
Washington Sea Grant, University of Washington, Seattle
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Seattle, Washington
Guy, T.J., Jennings S.L., R.M. Suryan, E.F Melvin., M.A Bellman, L.T Ballance., B.A. Blackie, D.A. Croll, T. Deguchi, T.O. Geernaert, R.W.Henry, M. Hester, K.D. Hyrenbach, J. Jahncke, M.A. Kappes, K. Ozaki, J. Roletto, F. Sato, W.J. Sydeman, J.E. Zamon. 2013. Overlap of North Pacific albatrosses with the U.S. west coast groundfish and shrimp fisheries. Fisheries Research 147: 222-234.
Fischer, K.N., R.M. Suryan, D.D. Roby, G.R. Balogh. 2009. Post-breeding season distribution of black-footed and Laysan albatrosses satellite-tagged in Alaska: Inter-specific differences in spatial overlap with North Pacific fisheries. Biological Conservation 142:751-760.
Suryan, R.M., K.S. Dietrich, E.F. Melvin, G.R. Balogh, F. Sato, K. Ozaki. 2007. Migratory routes of short-tailed albatrosses: Use of exclusive economic zones of North Pacific Rim countries and spatial overlap with commercial fisheries in Alaska. Biological Conservation 137:450-460.