This paper reports on progress made by the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) on issues of particular relevance to the Commission. Since the last meeting of the CCAMLR Commission, ACAP held the fifth meeting of its Advisory Committee (AC5) and the third meeting of its Seabird Bycatch Working Group (SBWG3).
At SBWG3, considerable progress was reported on research to develop bycatch mitigation measures for pelagic fisheries. A review of relevant research revealed that the most effective measures to reduce incidental take of seabirds in pelagic longline fisheries are:
- use of an appropriate line weighting regime to reduce the time baited hooks are near or on the surface and thus available to birds;
- avoiding peak areas and periods of seabird foraging activity;
- setting at night; and
- actively deterring birds from baited hooks by means of bird scaring lines, in combination with appropriate line weighting.
The SBWG also reviewed progress in bycatch mitigation research for pelagic and demersal trawl gear and advised that the most effective measure to reduce incidental take of seabirds in trawl fisheries is the effective management of offal discharge and fish discards through full retention of all waste material, or mealing (the conversion of waste into fish meal waste reducing discharge to sump water). In the absence of this it is critical not to discharge offal or fish discards during shooting and hauling.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between CCAMLR and ACAP, endorsed at CCAMLR XXVIII, has been approved by ACAP Parties. The signing of the MoU by the respective Executive Secretaries took place on 1 April 2010. The MoU will facilitate the exchange of data between ACAP and CCAMLR, such as information on the conservation status and threats faced by ACAP species found in CCAMLR waters. This information will be incorporated in future reports to CCAMLR.