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    Changes to seabird avoidance regulations in Alaska demersal longline fisheries based on scientific research on effectiveness of mitigation measures

    Request Meeting Document
    Document Number:
    K.S. Rivera (USA)
    Agenda Item(s)

    The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) recommended changes to the existing regulations for seabird avoidance measures required in the groundfish and halibut demersal longline fisheries off Alaska. One of the main recommendations is for the required use of paired streamer lines on larger vessels. Changes were based on research results from a two-year study conducted by the Washington Sea Grant Program (WSGP) on the effectiveness of seabird avoidance measures in the longline fisheries off Alaska. For complete details of the research, results, and recommendations, see the WSGP final report. The report, “Solutions to Seabird Bycatch in Alaska’s Demersal Longline Fisheries”, is available at and was submitted to CCAMLR in 2001 (WG-FSA 01/35). Rigorous experimental tests of seabird avoidance measures on the local abundance, attack rate, and hooking rate of seabirds in Alaska fisheries were conducted on vessels over 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA. Paired streamer lines of specified performance and material standards were found to successfully reduce seabird incidental take in all years, regions, and fleets (88 percent to 100 percent relative to controls with no deterrent). This proposed action is prompted for two reasons: 1) An industry request to the Council to strengthen the seabird avoidance measures, and 2) the availability of research results from a study on the effectiveness of seabird avoidance measures that suggest ways that the current seabird avoidance requirements can be improved.
    The objective of the proposed regulatory change is to revise the current seabird avoidance requirements to improve their effectiveness at reducing the incidental take of endangered short-tailed albatrosses and other seabird species. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is currently promulgating regulatory changes based on the Council’s recommendations.