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    Directions followed by the French fishing companies involved in the toothfish fishery of the French EEZ, in order to minimise the incidental mortality of birds

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    Delegation of France
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    This document completes and updates the information provided by the French industry during the CCAMLR XXII, XXIII and XXIV.
    At the end of the Nineties, the French companies involved in the toothfish fishery of the French EEZ gave up trawling for fishing with longlines in order to protect juveniles of toothfish and to minimize by-catches of other fish. Longlining was a completely new technique for the French companies, and it has taken its full dimension in French EEZ only since the end of 2002.
    Since longline fishing started in the French EEZ, the incidental mortality of birds has been a matter of concern for the French industry.
    This document specifies the directions which were followed by the French companies during the 2005/2006 fishing season - and which will be followed during the 2006/2007 fishing season – to reduce the risk of bird mortality; it more generally gives a statement of the initiatives that they took and which is part of a global treatment of the problem of the birds incidental mortality which takes place in the French EEZ.
    Beyond the reduction of the mortality which can be estimated according to the protocols of sampling validated by CCMALR, the systematic counting of injured and dead birds carried out by the vessels themselves shows a new fall of mortality of almost 45% during the 2005/2006 fishing season. This fall concerns all the vessels that take part in the fishery. According to the crews’ perception, the incidental catches of birds are becoming more and more the fact of incidents occurring during the setting of the lines.
    The 2005/2006 fishing season was thus characterized by the continuation of the very significant improvement in reducing the birds mortality that was already recorded during the 2003/2004 and 2004/2005 fishing seasons.
    The French industry considers that this constant progress is equally due to:
    • The progressive generalization of some mitigation measures: use of lines of white color, deployment of multiple streamer lines, use of integrated weight lines; The use of white and integrated weight lines was in particular totally generalized during the course of the 2005/2006 fishing season.
    • The accumulation of the experience of vessels’ masters and crews, and the increase of their awareness concerning the necessity to minimize the incidental mortality of the birds; There are not easily measurable elements, but they undoubtedly have played an essential part in the reduction of birds mortality which was, and continues to be, observed.
    During the 2005/2006 fishing season, the French vessels also continued the experimentation of other mitigation devices to reduce even more birds incidental mortality: line-shooter, reconstituted baits, tests of hooks of new form, experimentation of a new type of startling device (laser gun).
    Some of these experiments will be carried on during the 2006/2007 fishing season (reconstituted baits, tests of hooks of new form). A line-shooter will also be installed on an additional vessel.