Sea Birds on the Hook - Oceana USA
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November 17, 2004

Sea Birds on the Hook

BY: Gwen

You may know a lot about long lining, bycatch and sea turtles. You also followed Charlotte on her Mediterranean Sea adventure as a fisher-woman.

But do you know about bycatch of sea birds?

A recent study based on satellite tracking, released on Wednesday Nov. 10, shows “hot spots” where longline fishing trawlers and albatrosses cross paths. And the news is not good for the birds — they are lured by the baited hooks and then drown.

How do you solve such a problem? As it happens, there may be a fairly low-tech solution:

Conservationists say that fairly simple measures can be used by longliners to reduce seabird mortality.

[Richard Thomas from Birdlife] said Brazilian fishermen use a colorful but effective technique that involves dyeing their bait two shades of blue.

Birds tend not to see blue but fish do. The first dye keeps the birds away but is water soluble and bleaches after the bait sinks. This leaves the fat-soluble blue dye which makes the bait more attractive to the fish, so both fishermen and birds win.

If you want to read the full article you can find it here.

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