Photo: Graham Robertson, Australian Antarctic Division
Southeast Pacific; breeds only in a small area of the Chatham Islands of New Zealand
Around 5,000 breeding pairs
Chatham albatross are caught in a variety of longline and trawl fisheries in the southeast Pacific Ocean. Known mortality from bycatch has been observed in ling demersal and tuna pelagic longline fisheries (Robertson et al 2004) and hake and orange roughy trawl fisheries in the New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) (Baird 2004a; 2004b). They have also been caught in the artisanal longline fisheries of Peru.
Seabirds are attracted to fishing vessels due to discards or offal being thrown off the boats. The birds can become caught by hooks or entangled in nets or lines when they dive for bait. Several changes in fishing gear and methods have been tested to mitigate seabird bycatch mortality. Streamers, which are attached to the fishing vessel near the line, have been shown to scare birds away and reduce bycatch. Other techniques include, side setting, underwater setting, or weighting of lines; changing the color or smell of the bait; setting gear at night; and thawing bait.
Robertson, CJR, E Bell, P Scofield. 2004. Autopsy report for seabirds killed and returned from New Zealand fisheries, 1 October 2001 to 30 September 2002: birds returned by Ministry of Fisheries observers to the Department of Conservation. DOC Science Internal Series 155. Department of Conservation, Wellington, New Zealand.
Baird, JS. 2004a. Incidental capture of seabird species in commercial fisheries in New Zealand waters 2000-01. NZ Fisheries Assessment Report 2004/58.
Baird, JS. 2004b. Incidental capture of seabird species in commercial fisheries in New Zealand waters 2001-02. NZ Fisheries Assessment Report 2004/60.