Good news for albatross, and a young kindred spirit

18 06 2010

An albatross hooked on a baited fishing line. This bird was freed and survived the incident.

Many species of albatross are being driven to the brink of global extinction. One of the major threats to these birds has been accidental drownings that occur when the birds forage around fishing vessels and are dragged underwater on the baited hooks. Now, the Albatross Task Force (ATF) in Brazil is reporting that, through very simple measures, 90% of those deaths can be prevented.

The ATF’s Tatiana Neves says, “So far we have proved it’s possible to save nine of the ten albatrosses which were dying three years ago, but this success has only been on vessels where we have expert instructors. The next huge step is to strive for similar levels of success across the fishing fleet operating in Brazil.” This will undoubtably take considerable education, which means money and manpower. But the measures themselves are surprisingly low-tech: attaching streamers to the lines as they are set to frighten the birds away, and weighting the hooks causing them to sink quickly, reducing their accessibility to the birds.

The ATF and their funders and partners will be hard at work to implement these changes now that they know how successful these tactics can be. SEANET appreciates this bit of good news and is rooting for the ATF.

And now, a plug for a fellow blogger, 9 year old Silas Rock. Silas is the nephew of Seanetter Libby Rock who brought the blog to our attention. Silas’ blog is the eclectic musings of an obviously very precocious young man and is worth a read anytime. But I would like to refer you specifically to his post “Skeleton Bird;” a Seanetter’s heart cannot help but swell with hope for the future of dead bird studies.

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