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.

WSG publications:

Reduction of Seabird Entanglements in Salmon Drift Gillnets Through Gear Modification

Reduction of Seabird Bycatch in Salmon Drift Gillnet Fisheries: 1995 Sockeye/Pink Salmon Fishery Final Report

Seabird Bycatch Reduction: New Tools for Puget Sound Drift Gillnet Salmon Fisheries

Other publications:

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.