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Educating longline fishermen

New bird safety poster hopes to stem tide of deaths at sea

Poster graphic

See English or Spanish version of this poster (PDF).

Tens of thousands of albatross and petrels die on longline hooks each year. Some species are now threatened with extinction. International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) and the National Audubon Society are addressing this problem with the development and worldwide distribution of an educational poster.

This poster was developed by IBRRC's Hawaii & Pacific Islands Representative Linda Elliott and Eric Gillman from the Audubon's Living Oceans program. 22,500 copies of the poster have been produced in 5 languages and fill the need for information on proper techniques to handle and release seabirds caught on longline gear and brought onboard longline vessels alive each year.


There is a gap in educational materials available to the fishing industry regarding proper techniques to handle live seabirds that are brought onboard longline vessels. Educational booklets and videos have been produced for fishermen that describe mitigation measures to avoid catching seabirds in longline fisheries, and explain why catching birds should be avoided. However, there are no field manuals, posters, or other educational tools for longline fishers that are dedicated to addressing seabird handling techniques to save seabirds that come aboard alive after having been hooked during hauling (which occurs most often in Spanish-system demersal longline fisheries) or that have been hooked during the set and manage to stay alive during the gear soak to be hauled aboard alive (in some pelagic longline fisheries).

To fill this gap, IBRRC and the Audubon Society, with assistance from BirdLife International, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Hawaii Longline Association, Newman’s Own Inc., and Contact International, produced an educational poster that presents best practices to safely handle and release seabirds caught in longline fisheries so as to maximize survival of the birds and safety of the handlers. We recognize that the majority of crew are likely to improve their handling practices only if they are presented with practical suggestions that are not especially time consuming or difficult to employ. Therefore, in addition to providing information on the best handling protocol, we also provide information on practices that are as simple and practical as possible and thus more likely to be used by a larger number of crew, while still resulting in a significant improvement from the status quo. The poster also provides brief information on methods to avoid seabird capture in the first place.

The main target audience is Spanish-system demersal and smaller-vessel pelagic longline crew and captains from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, China, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), Australia, New Zealand, Canada, U.S.A., South Africa, and Namibia. 22,500 copies of the poster were printed.

The poster will be distributed to longline fishery industries and associations, national and regional fishery management bodies, fishing gear suppliers, and fish auctions. The poster is avaialable in 5 languages:

Chinese (Mandarin with traditional script directed primarily at Taiwanese)
Spanish (Universal dialect for both Spain and Latin America)

(Note: All posters available in a downloadable Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), each are approximately 3.7 mb)


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