Seabird bycatch in fishing gear
Seabird Bycatch in fishing gears is a major concern to BirdLife Europe. We estimate that every year more than 200,000 seabirds die as bycatch in fishing gears in the EU waters. We have pioneered efforts to address this long overlooked source of mortality which can have a devastating impact on seabird populations, including some globally threatened species.
BirdLife International’s Albatross Task Force (ATF) is having major success in the southern hemisphere to minimize seabird bycatch through working with fishermen on deck to deploy technical fixes (‘mitigation measures’). Based on the ATF model, BirdLife Europe plans to engage with national EU fisheries through our Partnership, and quantify national levels of bycatch at all regions, from the Baltic to the Atlantic and Mediterranean seas. Cost-effective mitigation and eradication solutions exist and both fishermen and seabirds can benefit from adopting simple measures.
Introduction of this know-how into EU waters is long overdue. BirdLife Europe has therefore developed a long term programme of advocacy to decision-makers and the fishing sector for sustainable solutions to prevent the needless deaths of seabirds in fishing gears. For more details read BirdLife Europe's briefing "Time to halt seabird bycatch in the EU".