I recently conducted more on board demonstrations on how to use seabird bycatch mitigation measures in longline and trawl fisheries in Namibia. We are working in partnership with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and the fishing Industry to create awareness of the available solutions through training workshops, at sea demonstrations and fishery monitoring. By doing so, the introduction of conservation measures is a smoother process and more readily received by industry.

This time I presented to a total of thirty crew members from two vessels that belong to the Sea-work fishing company. The first part of the training was explaining that the Albatross Task Force is a marine conservation project, not a military squad as some of the crew members had understood from our name!

I then went on to explain the global issue of seabird mortality, indicating the grave situation in Namibia (our fisheries are amongst the world's most destructive to seabirds) and which species that we regularly see at sea are threatened with extinction. Giving a brief explanation of albatross life history traits, such as life expectancy, delayed sexual maturity, slow breeding and their life long choice of partners helps generate immediate interest with the crew.

My demonstration of bird scaring lines shows how they are flown during trawling and retrieved prior to hauling on trawl vessels. They simply provide a physical barrier that prevents seabirds from entering the danger zone behind the vessel where the trawl cables enter the water. Our work shows that deploying bird-scaring lines can practically eliminate seabird bycatch in Namibia.

Below: building bird scaring lines on deck for the demonstration

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