New line on seabird safety
ENVIRONMENT consultancy firm Imvelo Blue, supported by conservation organisation WWF SA, have developed a device capable of monitoring fishing vessels that may not be using bird scare lines.
A decline in seabird populations can often be attributed to the incidental deaths caused by commercial fishing operations.
Scavenging birds, including many endangered albatross species, are attracted to fishing vessels.
Sihle Ngcongo, an experienced fisheries observer and the developer of the Imvelo Bird Scary Line (Imvelo BSL) device, said the tool would go a long way towards ensuring fishing vessels complied with using bird scare lines.
“The implementation of more electronic monitoring tools reduces the possible conflicts between the observers and fishermen on board the vessels,” Ngcongo said.
‘‘Potentially, the device can be adopted by the national government and enforcement agencies as a compliance tool, and its data can be transmitted in real-time, reducing all the uncertainties.”
Ngcongo said the device could help to address the ecosystem impact and remove the compliance duties from scientifically-inclined fisheries data collectors.
Bird scare lines, or tori lines, have helped reduce seabird mortalities by up to 90%. However, there are still several seabirds which drift towards the trawl warp while foraging for discards from fishing vessel.
Birdlife Albatross Task Force leader Andrea Angel said the Imvelo BSL device would help in ensuring that fishery vessels were utilising the bird scare lines.
“Although its part of the requirements when companies or fishermen are granted fishing rights, it becomes difficult to monitor in practice.
“The device, because of how it works, will show that a line is not being used and we are engaging with national government to have this made mandatory within the fishing industry,” said Angel.
For more information on the Imvelo Bird Scary Line, visit www. imveloblueenviro.com and for bird conservation visit www.birdlife.org.za.
The device will show that a (bird scare) line is not being used
BIRDLIFE ALBATROSS TASK FORCE LEADER