INTERNATIONAL FISHING BODY FAILING TO FOLLOW ADVICE AND SAVE ALBATROSS
9th October 2017
This week, governments and southern bluefin tuna fishers will gather in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, at the 24th meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna* (CCSBT). Humane Society International is attending to demand action on the threat fishing for this lucrative tuna poses to the world’s most imperilled seabird species – albatrosses and petrels. Humane Society International has today delivered an opening statement to the meeting expressing our deep alarm and intense frustration at the CCSBT’s failure to follow expert advice and solve its serious seabird bycatch problem.
“Albatross and petrels are killed in dangerously high numbers on the baited longline hooks of global southern bluefin tuna fleets and a recent expert meeting reported that multiple albatross species are edging ever closer to extinction. The time for action is well overdue,” said Alistair Graham, Humane Society International’s representative at the meeting. “The CCSBT is the international body that could, by the agreement of three simple measures, stop these needless deaths. Instead this important international body has to date shirked its responsibility and ignored expert advice and looks set to do it again.”
“We must not let iconic albatross species reach extinction. It is time for CCSBT members to agree mandatory mitigation measures in all fishing areas. Endangered albatross cannot afford for the CCSBT to waste another year of failed responsibility to deal with its impact on albatross and petrels.”
Despite there being clear guidance issued by the UN Agreement for the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) on the measures that need to be taken to reduce seabird deaths**, the CCSBT ignores them.
“Unless something changes, tuna bodies such as CCSBT will lose international legitimacy because of their failure to be sustainable. We are calling on the CCSBT to recognise and adopt ACAP’s best practice advice using all three best practice measures**. Weighting lines so that hooks sink quickly out of reach of seabirds is a critical measure,” said Mr Graham.
Humane Society International also calls for reporting and inspection arrangements sufficient to ensure both compliance and effectiveness, so that seabird deaths are reduced.
Humane Society International acknowledges the resolution put forward by Australia to mitigate the impact of southern bluefin tuna fishing on seabirds.
“Whilst we welcome Australia’s attempts to get the CCSBT to address seabird deaths, sadly their resolution is simply too weak and does not follow ACAP’s advice. If the resolution is adopted CCSBT fleets would still kill far too many birds. Humane Society International has written to Assistant Minister for Fisheries Anne Ruston noting our disappointment with Australia’s ambition for the meeting,” concluded Mr Graham.
Humane Society international has attended CCSBT for over two decades, with the protection and prevention of seabird deaths our primary purpose.
Notes: *Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna https://www.ccsbt.org
**ACAP recommends that the most effective way to reduce seabird bycatch in pelagic longline fisheries is to use the following three best practice measures (branch line weighting, night setting and bird scaring lines) simultaneously https://acap.aq/en/bycatch-mitigation