Fishermen work to reduce albatross deaths

National Geographic
2 December 2013

The albatross and life at sea have been linked for centuries.

But the death of an albatross means far more than bad luck for sailors.  It signifies a serious threat to the ecosystem of the world’s oceans – so much so that the organizations that manage fisheries across the globe have established new measures aimed at diminishing the number of seabirds that are perishing as bycatch in today’s tuna fishing operations.  These measures have been shown to reduce bycatch by 80 to 90%, especially when they are used in combination.

Seventeen of the world’s 22 species of albatross are threatened with extinction.  Longlining in tuna fisheries has been identified as a major threat to many of these species, with tens of thousands of albatrosses dying each year on fishhooks, according to Birdlife International.

In response to this critical situation – made visible in large part due to the work of BirdLife and other groups – tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) have strengthened their bycatch mitigation requirements.

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