Poster Australian Marine Sciences Association 2022

Understanding gear-related effects on the likelihood of seabird and marine turtle interactions in an Australian pelagic longline fishery: A collaboration between science and industry. (#521)

Alice M Pidd 1 , Trent Timmiss 2 , David S Schoeman 1 , Don Bromhead 3 , Phil Ravanello 4 , Fiona Hill 3 , Kylie L Scales 1
  1. University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, QLD, Australia
  2. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra, ACT, Australia
  3. Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra, ACT, Australia
  4. Tuna Australia, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Fisheries-wildlife interactions are pervasive at-sea threats facing threatened, endangered and protected (TEP) species, such as seabirds and marine turtles, and are critical considerations in achieving global sustainable fisheries management. Bycatch-reduction devices (BRDs) and gear modifications aimed at reducing the likelihood of interactions with TEP species have been trialled internationally, creating best practice mitigation guidelines for seabirds and turtles. Australia’s pelagic longliners utilise various fishing strategies differing in configuration (depths, bait, setups, speed/duration), alongside standard TEP interaction mitigation techniques (bird-scaring lines, night setting, line weighting). Live baiting techniques are used by some fisheries to increase target catch rates but could reduce the efficacy of existing BRDs (e.g., line weighting). The efficacy of certain BRDs (underwater bait setters, hookpods) in mitigating seabird interactions in conjunction with live baiting is of interest to industry. Moreover, the relationship between the vertical dimension of each strategy and the overlap with seabird and turtle dive behaviour is unknown. In collaboration with industry and government, we aim to (1) determine the likelihood of seabird and turtle interactions by developing risk profiles for each fishing strategy, (2) assess the efficacy of new BRDs alongside live baiting techniques, and (3) make recommendations about BRDs in Australian longline fisheries.