1 Aug 2013

Call for fishing boats to protect sea birds from injury

6:23 am on 1 August 2013

Fishing firms are being encouraged to do more to protect seabirds by using a form of scarecrow on their boats.

New Zealand's waters and offshore islands host more breeding grounds for albatross and petrel species than any other country.

Those seabirds have learnt the easiest way to get food is to forage at the back of fishing vessels, where they risk becoming caught on baited hooks or entangled in fishing gear.

Fishing company Sealord has already joined the charity Southern Seabirds Solution in its effort to educate commercial fishermen.

Southern Seabirds Solutions is a charity set up to encourage commercial fishing companies to take action.

Sealord's communications manager, Alison Sykora says the company has installed what are known as bafflers or at-sea-scarecrows on their vessels which prevent the birds from coming too close.

Southern Seabirds Solutions is also urging companies to batch-dump offal to mitigate damage to the seabird population.