Since the 2001/2002 season CCAMLR has recognised the importance of the high level of hooks discarded in fish heads which ingestion by seabirds, especially wandering albatrosses which are large enough to swallow fish heads whole (SC-CAMLRR-XXI/BG/7). For example, in 2001/02 the scientific observer on the F/V Argos Helena estimated that >15,000 fish heads were discarded with hooks still in them. The hooks found in albatross colonies at South Georgia in years prior to 2001/02 were of the type used in the regulated fishery in Subarea 48.3 (SC-CAMLRR-XXI/BG/7). In 2007 overwintering scientists at Bird Island, South Georgia, have noted an increase in the occurrence of hook injuries to wandering albatrosses. The injuries appear to have two sources – injuries from the ingestion of discarded fish heads and offal, and injuries to birds that appear consistent with interactions during line hauling. This raises once again the importance of actions by CCAMLR to minimise or eliminate the discarding of fish heads containing hooks. CCAMLR–XXI noted the difficulty in getting the message to relevant fishers and indicated that alternative means should be considered. One alternative means would be the production and distribution by CCAMLR of a poster designed to educate fishers of the consequence to seabirds of discharging heads and offal containing hooks. The poster would be located in the processing areas of vessels, carry a simple and clear message, be inexpensive to produce and be produced in the languages spoken by crews. A draft poster will be submitted to WG-IMAF for discussion.
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