A long the coast of Chile there are often locally organised fairs intended to display the projects that are conducted in the region. These are popular with local university students and school children and represent a great opportunity to explain how the work of the Albatross Task Force is working with the fishing industry to prevent the incidental bycatch of threatened seabirds.
One of the main objectives of the Task Force is to develop local environmental education of the issue and generate awareness in the next generation of consumers, industry managers and seabird scientists!
In a recent event in Concon, a coastal town to the north of Valparaiso, I presented the work of the Task Force to local students and explained the interaction between seabirds and the diverse Chilean fisheries. It was a success, with over 300 people attending the stand and a lot of interest from past and present crew members of fishing vessels.
Below: Juan Carlos explains the work of the ATF to a local family
The commune of Concon is situated in an area with three fishing ports, where small scale fishing is an important feature of the economy and fisheries are ingrained in the social structure of the community. There are also several important wetland habitats for shore birds, forming a stop-over for migrating Franklin gulls Leucophaeus pipixcan and habitat for the Inca tern Larosterna inca amongst others. There is also a small breeding colony of Humboldt penguins Spheniscus humboldti on an island just off the coast.
One of the outcomes of this visit was generating contacts for future at sea observation in the fisheries that use gillnets in this area. It has been a valuable activity and is all part of planning future work in these fisheries.
Below: A classic Juan Carlos 'selfie' while at sea in a gillnet fishing vessel
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