A $200 device could reduce bycatch of endangered albatross by 95%!
Trawling bring up vast quantities of fish to the surface, so it's no surprise that birds are attracted to them and often get caught in the cables and nets, wounding and often needlessly killing them. The first solution would be not to trawl and give the ocean a break, but if that's not possible, something should be done to spare the birds. According to a new paper published in Animal Conservation, something could be done, and quite cheaply too.
Albatrosses are the most threatened group of birds on earth, with fishery-related deaths being the biggest threat to this group. Due to the many months they spend at sea at a time, Albatrosses produce few off-spring, meaning that these deaths have a disproportionately damaging impact on the global population. (source)
By fitting a $200 device that scares birds away to trawlers, scientists have found that albatross bycatches go down by 95%, and bycatch of other birds drops between 73%-95% during the winter months. Talk about a small investment making a big difference!
The scientists behind the study are calling for these devices to be made mandatory, something that seems a total no-brainer. Now if only regulators could spring into action and put some enforcement teeth into a new rule...
Trawling net at NOAA/Public Domain
Via Wildlife News