Trawling is a commercial fishing technique that involves pulling a cone-shaped net through the water to catch species like pollock, flatfish and cod. Studies of trawl fisheries indicate that seabird collisions with trawl cables can result in significant mortality of especially large-winged seabirds such as albatrosses on trawl vessels that process fish at sea, known as catcher-processors. WSG’s Ed Melvin and partners researched how cable strikes affect seabirds in the Bering Sea, the fishing grounds of Alaska’s trawl fisheries. They also showed how seabird strikes with trawl cables can be reduced through gear modification. In 2017 prevention of seabird collisions with trawl cables is emerging again as an important conservation issue in west coast and Alaska catcher processor fleets.
Here is a collection of publications from Melvin’s work reducing seabird bycatch from longline fisheries.
Melvin EF, Asher WE, Fernandez-Juricic E, Lim A (2016) Results of initial trials to determine if laser light can prevent seabird bycatch in North Pacific fisheries. Seventh Meeting of the Seabird Bycatch Working Group, Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels La Serena, Chile, 02-04 May 2016.
Melvin EF, Dietrich KS, Fitzgerald S, Cardoso T (2011) Reducing seabird strikes with trawl cables in the pollock catcher-processor fleet in the eastern Bering Sea. Polar Biology34:215–226.
Melvin EF, Dietrich KS, Fitzgerald S, Cordoza T (2010) Reducing seabird strikes with trawl cables in the pollock catcher–processor fleet in the eastern Bering Sea, Third Meeting of Seabird Bycatch Working Group, Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels Mar del Plata, Argentina, 08–09 April 2010.