Fishermen most often, when bait for fish, kill sea birds who attempt to steal bait from hooks. Be it, the leatherback and loggerhead turtles, or the Laysan and black-footed albatrosses, all fall victim to such accidental baits. To curb such occurrences, rules for longline fishing in the islands have been amended. These new rules are saving the lives of sea birds who attempt to steal bait from hooks meant for swordfish, the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council said Thursday. Between 1994 and 1999, each year, 3,000 Laysan and black-footed albatrosses were accidentally hooked by Hawaii longline fishermen. According to the council, after new rules were put into practice in late 2004, the number of albatrosses caught in the lines was down to 67 for the first half of 2005. The new methods also have reduced the number of leatherback and loggerhead turtles snagged on the lines by 70 percent and 90 percent, respectively. Hooking more than 16 of the endangered leatherback or 17 of the threatened loggerhead turtles would prompt a shut down of the fishery. This new method of fishing is catching way less birds.
Longline Fishing Rules to Limit Bird Deaths
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