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    Reduced bait loss and bycatch of seabirds in longlining by using a seabird scarer

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    S. Løkkeborg and Å. Bjordal (Norway)
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    Although longlining is regarded as a highly conservation oriented method of fishing, bycatch of seabirds on longlines is a problem in certain seasons and areas. Birds feeding on the bait during setting of the gear might cause considerable bait loss and occasional hooking of birds might eventually give high mortalities considering the large amounts of hooks used. Both from a fishery and bird conservation point of view there is a strong incentive to solve this problem. This paper describes trials with a seabird scarer in the Norwegian longline fishery. The scarer, a line with streamers trailing behind the vessel during setting of the gear, proved to be an effective device for scaring the birds away, and gave significantly reduced bait loss and no bird mortality.