A gillnet is a wall of netting that hangs in the water column, commonly used to catch salmon. Diving seabirds such as the marbled murrelet, a threatened species native to the Pacific Northwest, can become entangled in gillnets and drown. In the face of threatened fishery closures, WSG’s Ed Melvin and partners researched tools that salmon drift gillnet fishermen can use to reduce their seabird bycatch, including incorporating visual and acoustic alerts into traditional fishing gear. Bird-friendly nets have been required in Washington’s non-treaty salmon gillnet fisheries since 1997 based on WSG research.
Here is a collection of publications from Melvin’s work reducing seabird bycatch from longline fisheries.
Melvin EF, Parrish JK, Conquest LL (1999) Novel tools to reduce seabird bycatch in coastal gillnet fisheries. Conservation Biology13:1386-1397.
Thompson CW, Wilson ML, Melvin E, Pierce JD (1998) An unusual sequence of flight-feather molt in common murres and its evolutionary consequences. The Auk115:653-669.