Longline fishing is a technique that uses hooks to catch species like sablefish, halibut and tuna. It involves deploying thousands of baited hooks spaced along a line behind the boat. There are two types of longline fisheries: pelagic longlines, in which the hooks hang near the surface to catch fish like tuna or swordfish, and demersal longlines, in which the hooks sits on or near the ocean bottom to catch fish like sablefish, halibut or cod.
The incidental mortality of seabirds in both types of longline fisheries is a serious conservation issue worldwide. However, WSG’s Ed Melvin research has shown that there are relatively simple, effective solutions – most notably, the use of streamer lines, fast sinking longlines, and night setting.
Here is a collection of publications from Melvin’s work reducing seabird bycatch in longline fisheries.
WSG publications – general longlines
The Distribution of Seabirds on Alaskan Longline Fishing Grounds: 2002 Data Report
WSG publications – pelagic longlines
Other publications – pelagic longlines
Melvin EF, Guy TJ, Read LB (2014) Best practice seabird bycatch mitigation for pelagic longline fisheries. Fisheries Research149:5-18.
Melvin EF, Guy TJ, Read LB (2013) Reducing seabird bycatch in the South African joint venture tuna fishery using bird-scaring lines, branch line weighting and nighttime setting of hooks. Fisheries Research147:72-82.
Melvin EF, Guy T (2011) A draft seabird bycatch conservation measure for tuna commissions. SBWG-4 Doc 56, Fourth Meeting of the Seabird Bycatch Working Group, Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, Guayaquil, Ecuador, 22–24 August 2011.
Melvin E, Guy T, Sato N (2011) Preliminary report of 2010 weighted branchline trials in the tuna joint venture fishery in the South African EEZ. SBWG-4 Doc 07, Fourth Meeting of the Seabird Bycatch Working Group, Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, Guayaquil, Ecuador, 22–24 August 2011.
Melvin EF, Guy TJ, Read LB (2010) Shrink and defend: a comparison of two streamer line designs in the 2009 South Africa tuna fishery. SBWG-3 Doc 13.rev1, Third Meeting of Seabird Bycatch Working Group Mar del Plata, Argentina, 08–09 April 2010.
Melvin EF, Heinecken C, Guy TJ (2009) Optimizing tori line designs for pelagic tuna longline fisheries: South Africa. Report of work under special permit from the Republic of South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Marine and Coastal Management, Pelagic and High Seas Fishery Management Division.
WSG publications – demersal longlines
Other publications – demersal longlines
Gladics A, Melvin EF, Suryan R, Good T, Jannot J, Guy T (2017) Fishery-specific solutions to seabird bycatch in the U.S. West Coast sablefish fishery. Fisheries Research196, pp. 35-95
Dietrich KS, Melvin EF, Conquest L (2008) Integrated weight longlines with paired streamer lines — best practice to prevent seabird bycatch in demersal longline fisheries. Biological Conservation141:1793-1805.
Dietrich K, Melvin E, Conquest L (2006) Integrated weight longlines with paired streamer lines — best management practice for demersal longline fisheries: preliminary results. WG-FSA-06/52, CCAMLR, Hobart.
Dietrich KS, Parrish JK, Melvin EF (2009) Understanding and addressing seabird bycatch in Alaska demersal longline fisheries. Biological Conservation 142:2642-2656.
Guy TJ, Jennings SL, Suryan RM, Melvin EF, Bellman MA, Anderson DJ, Ballance LT, Blackie BA, Croll DA, Deguchi T, Geernaert TO, Henry RW, Hester M, Hyrenbach KD, Jahncke J, Ozaki K, Roletto J, Sato F, Shaffer SA, Sydeman WJ, Zamon JE (2013) Overlap of North Pacific albatrosses with the U.S. west coast groundfish and shrimp fisheries. Fisheries Research147:222-234.
Melvin EF (2003) CCAMLR streamer line requirements revisited. WG-FSA-03/22, CCAMLR, Hobart, Tasmania.
Melvin EF, Sullivan B, Robertson G, Wienecke B (2004) A review of the effectiveness of streamer lines as a seabird bycatch mitigation technique in longline fisheries and CCAMLR streamer line requirements. CCAMLR Science11:189-201.
Robertson G, Moreno CA, Gutierrez E, Candy SG, Melvin EF, Seco Pon, JP (2008) Line weights of constant mass (and sink rates) for Spanish-system Patagonian toothfish longline vessels. CCAMLR Science15:93-106.
Suryan RM, Dietrich KS, Melvin EF, Balogh GR, Sato F, Ozaki K (2007) Migratory routes of short-tailed albatrosses: Time spent among exclusive economic zones of North Pacific Rim countries and spatial overlap with commercial fisheries in Alaska. Biological Conservation137:450-460.