Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


2. NATIONAL REPORTS


Status and trends in the Argentinean longline fisheries, evaluation of mitigation measures and its efficiency

P. Gandini[1], F. Rabuffetti[2], J. Crugeiras[3], G. Nieto[4] and G., Cesar[5]

Demersal longline fishing in Argentine waters began in 1992, targeting Argentine hake (Merluccius hubbsi), South American kingclip (ling) (Genypterus blacodes), and Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) from the Patagonian Shelf and in deeper waters within the Argentine Exclusive Economic Zone (AEEZ). This activity report an important income during the 1990s with estimations for the Patagonian toothfish fishery of U$S 80 million for 10 000-12 000 tonnes landed in Argentine ports. The fishery has consisted of eight vessels operating within the AEEZ, one targeting Skates (Raja sp.) and seven targeting ling and Patagonian toothfish. Main landing ports are located in Patagonian waters (Puerto Deseado and Ushuaia) compromising approximately 85 percent of the landed fish.

During the mid 90´s in San Matías gulf (northern Patagonia, Rio Negro province), a specific longline fishery was developed under provincial jurisdiction whose target species is Argentine Hake. The quality of the fish caught encouraged the Province to develop this fishery in contrast to the hake obtained by trawling. The fishery started in 1996 with a few artisanal vessels (less than 10 m), but at the end of 1998 an important number of artisanal and industrial (20-35 m) vessels were incorporated. From 2000 to 2001 the international prices decreased and the activity slowed down, so from 1999 to 2002 the fleet was practically inactive. However, the economic conditions in present days are again stimulating this fishing activity with a fleet of about 10 to 11 vessels (R.A. González, unpublished data). This growing activity provoked concern on seabird mortality to academia and different ONG’s and during 2000 joint actions with fishing industry and the government started.

Previous information was scarce and crude, with estimations based on Argentina effort and CCAMLR mortality rates that indicated an annual albatross mortality from 3 832 to 13 514 (wandering, royal, black-browed and grey-headed albatrosses). Other estimation made by Gandini and Frere (2000), indicated bycatch rates of two birds/1 000 hooks when operations were made during the day without using mitigation measures. Lately a completed study made by Gandini and Frere (in press) found that vessels targeting ling and using night setting, thawed bait, and offal strategically deployed has a seabird capture rate of 0.034 birds/1 000 hooks.

A joint project between non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia and fishing companies is being developed. Practicability and effectiveness of seabird deterrent measures to avoid and minimize seabird mortality, be economically practicable and of voluntary compliance is being tested on ARGENOVA S.A. vessels obtaining seabird mortality rates with onboard observers trained to seabird identification. We developed a laminated card that is being distributed among crew members and observers, a pamphlet explaining seabird problem and to provide fishers with information on the use four mitigation measures that could be easily adopted by them was printed out, which is also being distributed among the main stakeholders. We are also working with National Authorities to standardize the information obtained by the National Observer program enhancing data collection on seabird bycatch through the program, and to identify priorities and future research.

Reference

Zavalaga, C.B., Frere, E. & Gandini, P. 2002. Statut of the Red-legged Cormorant in Peru: What factors affect distribution and number? Waterbirds. Vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 8-15, Mar 2002.

The bycatch of albatrosses and petrels by longline fisheries in Brazil

Fabio Olmos[6] and Tatiana Neves[7]

1. Introduction

Despite the dearth of breeding species, Brazilian waters are an important feeding area for albatrosses and petrels, including some significant concentrations of globally threatened species such as Spectacled Petrel Procellaria conspicillata, Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche chlororhynchos and Tristan Albatross Diomedea dabbenena (Olmos, 2001 and 2002, Neves and Olmos, 2001). Most species are found in the colder waters and upwellings of southern and southeastern Brazil, especially the ones influenced by the Subtropical Convergence, where the warm Brasil and the cold Malvinas currents meet (Vooren and Brusque, 1999). At least 20 species of seabirds interact with longliners in Brazilian waters, following the vessels and feeding on discards, and albatrosses, Procellaria and Puffinus spp. are known to interact with fisheries in a significant way (Olmos, 1997; Neves and Olmos, 1998; Olmos, Neves and Bastos, 2001).

2. Fisheries catching birds in Brazil

Seven fisheries (fishery concept follows TAMAR, 2002) are known to affect albatrosses and petrels in Brazil, and four of them are considered as priorities because of their fishing effort, location and/or bycatch potential. These are 1) pelagic longline fleet based in southern and southeastern Brazil, 2) leased longline fleet based in northeastern Brazil, 3) bottom longliners and 4) artisan longliners based in Itaipava (Espirito Santo).

Although seabird bycatch is mostly associated to longline fisheries, some techniques have the potential of causing significant mortality. Driftnets, demersal gillnets and live-bait bonito fishing are known to kill birds in Brazil but there is little information on the numbers and species involved.

Brazil caught 50 575.5 tons of tunas, billfish, sharks and other species in 2002. This value is 1.5% lower compared to the previous year. Considering only the catch from longliners, 2002 had a 29.8% decrease compared to 2001, despite the number of vessels increasing by 4%, from 124 in 2001 to 129 in 2002 (Travassos and Hazin, 2003). This marked decrease suggests fishing stocks exploited by longliners (mostly swordfish and sharks) are overexploited.

2.1 Pelagic longliners in southern and southeastern Brazil

This fishery is carried by domestic and leased vessels based in southern and southeastern ports (Santos - SP, Itajaí - SC and Rio Grande - RS). It is dominated by domestic vessels, the ratio of domestic to leased vessels ranging from 28:3 in 2000 to 23:5 in 2002 (Brazil Report to ICCAT, 2002).

Since 1994 all vessels based in Brazil moved to the monofilament American model, and began to target mainly swordfish Xiphias gladius. Each longline has 800 to 1 200 hooks baited with Argentine squid (mostly imported from Uruguay) and, occasionally sardines and mackerel, and sink to 45-80 m (Olmos, Neves and Bastos, 2001). Longline settings begin around sunset but during the summer, as sunset occurs later, the longline is set during the afternoon to avoid settings (which take over five hours) extending until late in the night (Azevedo, 2003).

This fishery exploits three main areas: along shelf break and off the shelf waters from São Paulo south to Rio Grande do Sul, the Rio Grande Elevation and Hunter Channel and, to a lesser extent, the seamounds of the Vitória-Trindade chain (Azevedo, 2003). The distribution of the fishing effort by this fishery bears a close resemblance to the distribution of seabirds in Brazil.

2.2 Leased longliners based in northern and northeastern Brazil

According to the latest data presented by Brazil to the ICCAT (October 2003), by 2002 a total of 129 longliners were registered in Brazil, 74 being leased and 55 national. Among the leased vessels, two were based in Recife - PE, 37 in Cabedelo - PB, 61 in Natal - RN and one in Belém - PA. (Travassos and Hazin, 2003). The trend is for the number of leased vessels based in northeastern Brazil to increase, including ports with no longline fleet as in Bahia.

A few of the leased vessels may use a different gear from the monofilament longline and employ the Spanish-type longline. Despite most of the leased longliners being based in northeastern Brazil, fishing effort maps show them to move seasonally to southern Brazil to areas with known concentrations of seabirds. The greater autonomy of the leased vessels, including the use of freezers for storage of the catch, allows them to fish fare from their home ports. Domestic vessels use ice for storage and cannot spend so long at the sea.

2.3 Bottom longliners

Fisheries using bottom longliners started in Brazil only in 1994. Most vessels are converted trawlers. The mainline is 6-7 nautical miles long and employs 1 500-2 000 hooks in sidelines. Settings are made during daytime to avoid damage to the fish by nocturnal carnivorous isopods (Tutui, 2000). Because the exploited stocks show signs of overfishing, some vessels now fish for catfish and other less valuable species in much shallower waters (>80 m) (Haimovici, 2003; Ávila-da-Silva, Bastos and Tutui, 2001).

Haimovici and Velasco (2003) recorded 42 bottom longliners operating in southern and southeastern Brazil in 1997 and 1998. All were domestic but for one large Norwegian vessel. Bottom longliners are based mostly in Santos - SP, Itajaí - SC and Rio Grande - RS. Mean annual fishing effort was 17.7 million hooks. The decline of fish stocks imply the number of vessels has decreased and only the most able skippers have been able to keep in business.

2.4 Artisanal longliners of Itaipava - Eastern and southern

A fleet of about 290 artisanal fishing boats based in the port of Itaipava, Espírito Santo state, and neighbouring towns of Piúma, Anchieta and Vila Velha is made of wooden boats 10-15 m long carrying a crew of six to eight people and able to carry 12-13 tonnes of fish. Because of the market prices for dolphinfish and swordfish, boats from Itaipava now fish widely in southern Brazil and are known to land in Itajaí.

These vessels use different kinds of longline and target dolphinfish Coryphaena spp. with floating longlines with hooks keeping just below the surface, swordfish with deeper lines, and demersal fish with bottom longlines and hand lines. Sometimes all longlines are used at the same time.

The lines set for dolphinfish use 800 to 1200 hooks. Fishermen report that birds are commonly hooked and remain alive on the surface only to be killed by the disgruntled crew. There is very little information on bycatch levels and species caught by this fishery. On-board observers report interactions with shearwaters, albatrosses, petrels and skuas. Also, this fleet fishes in the area of occurrence of the globally threatened Trindade Petrel Pterodroma arminjoniana.

3. The incidental mortality of seabirds in Brazil

Data on seabird bycatch by bottom longliners in Brazil has already been published (Neves and Olmos, 1998; Tutui et al., 2000; Olmos, Neves and Bastos, 2001). It has been estimated the 1998 fishing effort of 17.7 million hooks would correspond to an average of 4 214 (2 201 to 6 226) seabirds caught/year. This fishery has a greater impact on diving species such as shearwaters and petrels.

Efforts to quantify seabird bycatch by pelagic longliners have dealt mostly with the domestic fleet, as the observers on board leased vessels did not gather data on birds until recently. Olmos, Neves and Bastos (2001) suggested a catch rate of only 0.095 birds/1 000 hooks for vessels from Santos based on interviews with fishermen and birds brought by them. On board observations, nevertheless, showed much greater catch rates of 0.73 and 1.35 birds/1 000 hooks.

Based on a 1998 fishing effort of 6.4 million hooks/year, Olmos, Neves and Bastos (2001) estimated the longline fleet fishing in southern and southeastern Brazil was catching an average of 6 665 birds/year, mostly white-chinned petrels and black-browed albatrosses. More recently, six cruises monitored by observers from Projeto Albatroz in February, May, June and July 2002 yielded 23 birds (19 T. melanophris, 1 T. chlororhynchos and 3 Procellaria aequinoctialis) caught by 102 250 hooks in 86 sets. The catch rate of 0.225 birds/1 000 hooks, is much greater than the 0.05 birds/1 000 hooks accepted by most sources. During the same period Projeto Albatroz also received dead Diomedea exulans and D. dabbenena brought by other vessels without observers. These results, besides confirming there is no substitute to on-board observers for sound data gathering, and point catch rates in Brazil are high, but there is great variability among cruises regarding the probability of catching birds.

4. The use of mitigation measures in Brazil

Together with the Brazilian environmental agency, Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (IBAMA), Projeto Albatroz tested mitigation measures during 2000 and 2001 with the aim of evaluating their efficiency under the conditions Brazilian vessels operate, and also to assess any impact on catch rates of target species and their acceptance by the crews. Three of the main fishing companies in the region, two in Santos and one in Itajaí, were partners in the tests. Together, the three companies accounted for 52% of the total number of vessels in the region by 2002.

The chosen measures were the toriline and blue-tinted baits. The experience showed that information on the importance of conserving seabirds and the impact of the seabird/fishery interaction, made available in an accessible way, was the most important tool in the voluntary acceptance of the suggested mitigation measures, compared to on-board observers and donating ready to use measures. At least four vessels have incorporated the use of torilines and blue baits into their routine.

Nevertheless, formal tests are needed to assess if they do reduce seabird bycatch. A trial was conducted as a joint initiative of the Centro Nacional de Pesquisa para Conservação das Aves CEMAVE/IBAMA, Projeto Albatroz and the Sea Turtle-focussed Projet in Brazil (TAMAR). The preliminary results of this trial (Table 1) were obtained during cruises made in March and July 2003, with standardized 300-hook sets made in areas between 24o30´and 28o30´S and 41oW and 48oW.

Table 1 (A) and (B) - Results of mitigation measures tests aboard the N.Oc. Soloncy Moura in 2003. The captures per unit of effort (CPUE = individuals/1 000 hooks) of four treatments is shown: blue tinted baits with (1 000 hooks set) and without torilines (600 hooks), torilines only (2 000 hooks) and no mitigation measure (1 200 hooks).

(A)

Target species

Blue bait

Non-tinted bait

with toriline

no toriline

with toriline

no toriline

Swordfish Xiphias gladius

14.0

3.3

10.0

5.8

Blue shark Prionace glauca

9.0

6.7

7.5

7.5

Tunas Thunnus spp.

0.0

3.3

2.5

1.7

Other fish

4.0

3.3

2.5

0.0

Other sharks

3.0

0.0

1.0

3.3

CPUE total

30.0

16.7

23.5

18.3

(B)

Bycatch

Blue bait

Non-tinted bait

with toriline

no toriline

with toriline

no toriline

Blue bait albatross T. melanophris

0.0

0.0

0.0

3.3

Loggerhead turtle C. caretta

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.8

Leatherback turtle D. coriacea

0.0

1.7

0.0

0.0

CPUE total

0.0

1.7

0.0

4.2

The small sample size and the low fish catch rates probably affect the rate birds were caught and the high CPUE for birds. Nevertheless, the fact that all albatrosses were caught in sets with no mitigation measure indicates that the measures have some impact. Of course more extensive trials are needed.

Soto et al. (2003) report that five cruises totalling 64 150 hooks in 64 sets caught 15 Thalassarche spp. and 2 Procellaria conspicillata, or 0.28 birds/1 000 hooks, a very high catch rate despite the use of both blue-tinted bait and night sets. This apparent failure of the mitigation measures must be studied, as it is not clear what was the tinting methodology and if the night sets did began after dusk or included clear, moonlight nights.

5. References

Ávila-da-Silva, A.O., Bastos, G.C.C. & Tutui, S.L.S. 2001. Atividade pesqueira do Estado de São Paulo: análize das capturas do biênio 1998-1999 com espinhel-de-fundo. Bol. Inst. Pesca, São Paulo, 27 (1);33-38.

Azevedo, V.G. 2003. Aspectos Biológicos e a Dinâmica das Capturas do tubarão-azul (Prionace glauca) realizadas pela Frota Espinheleira de Itajaí - SC Tese de Mestrado, Instituto Oceanográfico, Universidade de São Paulo.

Haimovici, M. & Velasco, G. 2003. A pesca de espinhel de fundo no sul do Brasil 1997 - 1998. Pp. 333-345 In M.C Cergole & C.L.D.B.R Wongtschowski (eds.) Dinâmica das frotas pesqueiras - Análize das principais pescarias comerciais do sudeste e sul do Brasil. Evoluir: São Paulo.

Neves, T.S. & Olmos, F. 2001. O Albatroz-de-Tristão Diomedea dabbenena no Brasil. Nattereria 2: 28-30.

Olmos, F. 1997. Seabird flocks attending bottom long-line fishing off southeastern Brazil. Ibis 139(4): 685-691.

Olmos, F. 2001. Revisão dos registros de Procellaria conspicillata (Procellariidae: Procellariiformes) no Brasil, com novas observações sobre sua distribuição. Nattereria 2: 25-27.

Olmos, F. 2002. Non-breeding seabirds in Brazil: a review of band recoveries. Ararajuba 10(1): 31-42.

Olmos, F., Neves, T.S. & Bastos, G.C.C. 2001. A pesca com espinhéis e a mortalidade de aves marinhas no Brasil. Pp. 327-337 In J. Albuquerque, J. F. Cândido, F. C. Straube & A. Roos (orgs.) Ornitologia e Conservação: da Ciência às Estratégias. SBO, UNISUL/CNPq, Tubarão.

Soto, J.M.R., Colabuono, F.I’. & Filippini, A., 2003. Análise des capturas de albatrozes e petréis (Procellariiformes) no espinhel peágico operante ne costa sul do Brasil e ao largo, utilizando medidas mitigadoras In: Congresso Brasileiro de Ornitologia, 2003, Peira de Santana. Estadual de Feira de Santana, 2003.

TAMAR, 2002. Plano de Ação Nacional para a Redução da Captura Incidental de Tartarugas Marinhas pela Atividade Pesqueira. Fundação Pró-TAMAR.

Travassos, P. & Hazin, F. 2003. Report on the Brazilian tuna fisheries, presented during the 2003 Annual Meeting of the ICCAT Standing Committee on Research and Statistics - SCRS. Madrid - ES.

Tutui, S.L.S., Bastos, G.C.C., Tomás, A.R.G., Tiago G.G. & Zavala-Camin, L.A., 2000. Species composition of the exploratory fisheries with bottom longline off southeastern Brazil. Ciência e Cultura 52: 55-58.

Vooren, C.M. & L.F., Brusque, As aves do ambiente costeiro do Brasil: biodiversidade e conservação. http://www.bdt.org.br/workshop/costa/aves (versão disponível em 18/10/2000).

Chilean Report

Carlos A. Moreno
Universidad Austral de Chile
Javier Arata
(co-author)

Longline fisheries in Chile are widely represented and include industrial as well as artisanal fisheries. Both fleets target Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides), austral hake (Merluccius australis) and ling (Genypterus blacodes) among demersal species and swordfish (Xiphias gladius) among pelagic ones. Within the demersal fisheries, only the industrial fleet has strong interactions with albatross and petrel populations given that the artisanal fleet uses vertical longlines and has very low associated levels of seabird incidental mortality.

Available target stocks for industrial fisheries are in general stabilized around 33% of the original spawning biomass, and thus effort levels have also remained stable during the past five to seven years (e.g. the Patagonian toothfish fishery sets ca. 7x106 hooks per year and the Austral Hake and Ling fishery ca. 18x106 hooks per year). According to Subsecretaria de Pesca’s fishery policies, this trend is expected to remain as is during the next few years. It is expected that other incidental mortalities might arise from trawling fisheries for hoki and blue whiting, however, there is no information available on regard to interactions with seabirds in these fisheries, nor for the swordfish fishery, and thus are not covered in this report.

Seabird incidental mortality has been studied in both artisanal and industrial fisheries targeting Patagonian toothfish, the latter of which overlaps spatio-temporally with the incubation period of Chilean black-browed (Thalassarche melanophrys) (BBA) and grey-headed (T. chrysostoma) (GHA) albatross populations. These populations show markedly different feeding patterns, the grey-headed being the most pelagic and most dependant on squid near the polar front, where they do not interact with the fishery. In contrast, black-browed albatrosses forage along the edge of the continental shelf where they completely overlap with different fishing fleets. Notwithstanding, recent studies have shown the occurrence of large breeding populations in Chile, as indicated in the following table:

Locality

BBA

GHA

References

Islas Diego Ramírez

55 275

16 383

Robertson et al., 2003

Islas Ildefonso

46 995

8

Robertson et al., 2003

Islotes Evangelistas

4 670

-

Arata et al., 2003

Isla Diego de Almagro

15 900

-

Lawson et al., 2003

According to these recent censuses, the Chilean black-browed albatross population corresponds to the second largest with respect to the one breeding in the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) and the grey-headed population is the second largest after the one breeding in Bird Island. Trends for these populations are only available for Gonzalo Island (Diego Ramirez Archipelago) and show that the grey-headed albatrosses population growth rate is variable given that only one hemi-population breeds each year, however, the black-browed population presents a positive trend and current numbers resemble those estimated during the 1980s. It is suspected that between 1989 and 1995 these populations suffered from extensive mortality due to the high fishing effort performed during that period, which was at least five times higher than current levels. The actual levels of incidental mortality, according studies conducted during 2002 showed the following indices between seabirds that interact with the Patagonian toothfish fishery South of 47oS:

Species

Min (-95%)

Mean

Max (+95%)

Black-browed albatross (BBA)

1 033

1 522

2 255

White-chinned petrel (PRO


25


Grey-headed albatross (GHA)


5


Through a GLM analysis the study proved that the factors most linked in explaining these results (at least for BBA) were the proximity of active colonies to fishing grounds and the period of the year (Month: November and the first two weeks of December) when both albatross species are feeding their recently hatched chicks. It is worth noting that there was no observed incidental mortality of other species of albatrosses that visit the Chilean coast during winter, partly because they overlap with the artisanal fleet operating North of 47oS. The Chilean Government has expressed its concern with regard to the current levels of incidental mortality and appointed the Universidad Austral de Chile to develop a National Plan of Action (FAO-NPOAs) in consensus with fishing companies, Subsecretaria de Pesca and non-governmental organizations (mainly Unión de Ornitólogos de Chile (UNORCH)). This plan should be operating during 2005.

Reference

Lawson, K., Robertson, G., Valencia, J., Wienecke, B. & Kirkwood, R. 2003. The status of black-browed albatrosses thalassarche melanophrys at Diego de Almagro Island. Chile. Ibis (Ibis). Vol. 145, no. 3, pp. 502-505. Jul. 2003

Longline fisheries and seabirds in Peru

Eliza Goya and Gladys Cárdenas
Instituto del Mar del Perú

In Peru, the industrial longline fishery (vessels with storage capacity over 30 m3) represents less than 1% of the total fishery industry, all these vessels being exclusively for Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides). This fleet consists of 9 vessels with a total storage capacity of 778 m3. Commercial fishery for Patagonian toothfish started officially in 1999. Catches are made between 800 and 2 250 m depth (mean= 1 500 m) and there are latitudinal differences in fish abundance, vessels operating mainly between 12°S and 18°S where yields are bigger. Between 1996-2002, annual catches fluctuated from 369.91 tonnes in 1996 and 173 434 tonnes in 2000, with mean annual catches of 253.84 tonnes. Total effort of the fleet between 1996-1999 was 1 409 354 hooks. Mean effort by month was 128 123 hooks, with minimum and maximum effort levels being recorded in March (35 550 hooks) and July (276 815 hooks), respectively.

The Patagonian toothfish longline fishery in Peru is considered in early stage of development. The size of the fleet has been stable over the last years. The fleet consisted of six fishing vessels in 1996-99, thirteen during 2000, eleven in 2001 and 2002 and thirteen vessels during 2003. Annual catches had fluctuated according to effort levels, with mean annual landings of 253.84 tonnes and a variation coefficient of 30%.

Artisanal longline fishing (boats with storage capacity under 30 m3) is recent, longline fishing is being reintroduced in Peru from the 1980s. Longliners represented 15% of the total artisanal fleet during 2002 and they are distributed widely over the whole coast. Main target species are common dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus), blue shark (Prionace glauca) and shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus).

A fraction of the artisanal longline fleet fish all year round, mainly on sharks and skates; the number of artisanal boats increase seasonally during summer along with the abundance increase of common dolphinfish. Artisanal longline fishing in southern Peru started about ten years ago. Operational characteristics of this fleet exist only for Ilo Port (17° S). Operations are diurnal. The fishing boats are 3-10 m3 storage capacity and 7-10 m length. The longlines used have 250-600 hooks each.

The number of artisanal boats has increased during the last seven years. In 1995, longliners represented 3.5% of the total artisanal fleet, with about 190 boats. This fraction increased to 15% in 2002, with a total number of boats estimated between 545 and 1 353, according to their seasonally fluctuation. The number of longline boats increases considerably during El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) years, as it happened in 1997-98.

A total of seven albatrosses and twenty-two petrel species have been recorded off the Peruvian coast during the seabird observations made during the Research Cruises for Pelagic Resources conducted by the Instituto del Mar del Perú (IMARPE) between 1998 and 2003. Species numbers of both albatross and petrel are slightly more abundant during winter-spring than summer-autumn. The most abundant albatross species was the waved albatross (Phoebastria irrorata) while between petrels, the sooty shearwater (Puffinus grizeus) was the most abundant. Other common species were Salvin’s albatross, white-chinned petrel and Parkinson’s petrel.

The waved albatross is more common offshore Peru during summer between 9°S and 11°S. A total of 3 853 waved albatross were recorded in early autumn 1998, in comparison with 989 individuals at the end of the winter. During summer this albatross species makes big aggregations over the continental shelf, whereas during winter it makes small aggregations widely disperse outside the continental shelf.

The Salvin’s albatross has been observed between 7°S-17°S and 10-120 nm offshore. The white-chinned petrel is frequently observed between 7°S-18°S, from the coast and up to 140 nm offshore. The Parkinson’s petrel is commonly observed between 12 °S-17°S and 40-200 nm offshore; however, during the 1997-98 ENSO event, this species was observed from 3°S to south.

According to their conservation status and abundance in Peruvian waters, we consider that the waved albatross, Chatham albatross, Salvin’s albatross, Galápagos petrel, Cook’s petrel, Parkinson’s petrel, white-chinned petrel, sooty shearwater and pink-footed shearwater are the more vulnerable species in our waters and therefore, shall receive special attention.

At the moment there is no assessment of seabird incidental mortality in Peru. Progress on this issue has been slow mainly because of funding limitations. This problem has not been prioritized in Peru because of the small size of both industrial (1% of the total number of vessels) and artisanal (15% of the total number of boats) longline fleets.

The only estimated of seabird bycatch comes from a survey undertake to artisanal longline fishermen from northern Peru in 1999. The results suggest that seabird bycatch in this fishery is a relevant conservation problem. The minimum and maximum bycatch rates estimated were 0.74-1.75 birds/1 000 hooks. According to the fishermen, albatross are the main species taken (42%), followed by boobies (22%), pelican (18%) and petrels (13%). We presume that the most affected species are the waved albatross and the Chatham albatross. Another indication of incidental mortality in Peru is the ring recovery. Most of the ring recovered belongs to waved albatrosses, however, rings from Chatham and Buller’s albatross are recovered as well.

At the moment, no mitigation measures have been adopted in order to reduce seabird bycatch in Peru.

The seabirds bycatch issue in Uruguay: a review (1993-2003)

Yamandú H. Marín
Fisheries Technology. Dirección Nacional de Recursos Acuáticos (DINARA).
Constituyente 1497. 11200 Montevideo, Uruguay

The Uruguayan industrial fishing fleet is classified into four categories according to target species, fishing area and operation method. From a total of one hundred fishing vessels (2001), fifty-five (categories A and B) operate with trawl nets within the Rio de la Plata and Argentinian - Uruguayan Common Fishing Zone (ZCPAU), mainly aimed to demersal fish species as hake Merluccius hubbsi, croaker Micropogonias furnieri, weakfish Cynoscion guatucupa and accompanying species. Category C is composed by thirty-six vessels, different in size and fishing gear, which include: trawlers targeting flatfishes and snails, longliners directed to the capture of swordfish (Xiphias gladius) and sharks, vessels with jigging machines for squid (Illex argentinus), and with traps for crabs (Chaceon notialis) and Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides). Those fishing vessels usually operate in the ZCPAU or in close international waters. Fishing vessels comprised in category D (eight vessels) exclusively operate in international waters, using longlines or traps for the capture of Patagonian toothfish or pelagic species. The incorporation of new fishing vessels in categories A and B is at present not allowed. Meanwhile categories C and D are the only ones that grew in number over the last decade.

Uruguayan Economic Exclusive Zone is located inside the distribution area of many albatross and petrel species. There are no breeding colonies but the subtropical convergence is indicated as an important location within their foraging range. At least four albatross and ten petrel species are commonly observed, classified under different categories and status according to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) criteria.

Seabird bycatch in different fisheries has been studied since 1993, in the framework of collaborative works between some government institutions, NGOs (Aves Uruguay) and the Faculty of Sciences. The Fisheries Technology Group and other Technical Areas of the Aquatic Resources National Direction (DINARA) provided seabirds mortality rates of several fishing methodologies collecting onboard information through observers. Fishing gears such as pelagic, midwater and bottom longlines showed the highest mortality rates (0.14 to 3.06 birds/1 000 hooks), while bottom gillnets and jiggers accounted for interactions, although lower mortality values (0.10 birds/1 000 m2 and 0.0 birds/hr) were recorded. Seabirds mortality was not observed with traps or trawl nets, however, the observation methodology for the last one needs to be improved. Species most commonly captured are Diomedea exulans, Thalassarche melanophrys, Thalassarche chlororhynchus, Procellaria aequinoctialis and Puffinus gravis. However, species like Macronectes giganteus, M. halli, and Fulmarus glacialoides are also carefully considered due to their frequent interactions with fishing gears. Census of seabirds accompanying fishing vessels is also undertaken by the Fisheries Technology Group and Aves Uruguay.

Standing mitigation measures arise from national regulations and international agreements such as the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Uruguayan fisheries regulations state the need of albatross and petrel conservation and specify mitigation measures to reduce seabird mortality with pelagic longlines since 1997 (decree n° 248/997). In 1998 the first Uruguayan longliner operated in the Patagonian toothfish fishing season in the statistical sub area 48.3. Mitigation measures issued by CCAMLR apply to all fishing vessels operating in the Convention Area and the results are accepted as a true reference. Despite the existence of those mechanisms, a global number of dead seabirds is not available yet, and little has been published about the fleet and fishermen acceptance or real application of mitigation measures, or seabird mortality reduction in Uruguay. There are no published reports concerning regulations compliance by the Uruguayan fleet other than CCAMLR reports or experimental fisheries.

Uruguayan position facing seabird mortality and related bycatch reduction presents a number of advantages: low and manageable number of fishing vessels, specific regulations, well documented background, valuable observation scheme and relationships among organisms and institutions. The fast progress of the issue in Uruguay between 1993 and 1998 contrasts with the following years. The roadblock is in part constituted by a misevaluation or undefined level of priority, difficulties in the achievement of national internal agreements, and the lack of a more specific or improved programme that guarantees a wider participation. Actors like crews and vessels owners are required to have a more active role. Fishermen participation is an underrepresented key factor in the development and maintenance of mortality reduction plans. Consequences of the present situation are the delay in the Agreement for the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) ratification and the faint involvement in actions within the framework of the South American Strategy for the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ESCAPE) strategy.

A possible approach to the subject is a general call to all actors involved: crews, vessels owners, government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and research institutions, in order to clarify purposes and the guidelines to be developed in the next years.


[1] Centro de Investigaciones de Puerto Deseado, UNPA, CONICET, WCS. Medrano 1940, Buenos Aires. pagandini@yahoo.com.ar
[2] Aves Argentinas, BirdLife.
[3] ARGENOVA S.A.
[4] Subsecretaría de Pesca y Acuicultura
[5] Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo Sustentable
[6] BirdLife International - Programa do Brasil
[7] Instituto Albatroz - Brasil

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page