Major funding boost for Antipodean Albatross

Antipodean Albatross
21 Feb 2024
The Southern Seabirds Trust has received a grant from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Future Fund for $175,000 to expand its outreach work with high seas fishing fleets.

This MPI Grant matches the funds raised by New Zealand Nature Fund guests at a dinner in March last year, and will enable a two-year programme of work to fully develop the Seabird-Safe Toolkit, and support fishing fleets to take up seabird-safe fishing practices.

Satellite tracking of Antipodean Albatross, coupled with maps of fishing and reports from fishing vessels, show that tuna fishing in the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea is the main threat to their survival. The albatrosses try to take bait off hooks and get caught and drown. The population is in catastrophic decline and the species will be extinct in our lifetime unless fishers change the way they fish.

The Southern Seabirds toolkit will be an educative and interactive website for international fishing fleets that will feature a map of the southern ocean and the areas important to seabirds, monitoring methods and ways for seafood suppliers to prove their product is caught using seabird safe methods. It will also outline simple and cost-effective fishing practices such as bird scaring lines to scare birds away from baited hooks, weighting hooks so they sink quickly away from diving birds and setting hooks at night.

Southern Seabirds Trust convenor Janice Molloy described the plan to save New Zealand’s precious seabirds to Radio New Zealand. Click here to listen to this interview.

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