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    Seabird mortality in the artisanal austral hake and Patagonian toothfish longline fisheries in southern Chile

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    C.A. Moreno, P. Rubilar, J. Arata, R. Hucke-Gaete (Chile) and G. Robertson (Australia)
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    Industrial longline fisheries are considered worldwide as the main threat to albatross and petrel populations, particularly at open oceans. However, inside countries’ EEZ artisanal fleets account for a significant fishing effort and eventually, could represent a major threat to albatrosses and petrels than industrial fishing. Here we described the fishing technique and provide the first assessment of incidental mortality for the artisanal fleets for Austral hake and Patagonian toothfish in southern Chile, which accounts for 0.9 and 20 millions hooks/year, respectively. Both fleet use vertical longlines that sink fast: 0.33 and 0.69-0.22 m?sec-1 in the hake and toothfish longlines, respectively. Accordingly, seabird by-catch was 0.030 birds/1000 hooks in the Austral hake fishery, mainly accounted by birds caught during the slow process of hauling. The overall by-catch rate in the Patagonian toothfish was 0.047 birds/1000 hooks. Considering the big fishing effort deployed by the artisanal toothfish fleet, some recommendations are giving in order to improve fishing compliance with today high conservation standards.