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14 October 2013 - Do not forget the albatross!      


14 October 2013            

The Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) will today convene for its annual meeting in Adelaide to discuss fishing allocation levels for southern bluefin tuna (SBT), but is anyone thinking of the albatross? Tens of thousands of albatross and other seabirds, sharks and turtles are unnecessarily killed each year in the SBT fishery and Humane Society International (HSI) is attending the meeting in Adelaide this week to ensure the albatross is not forgotten.

The southern bluefin tuna has been reduced to as little as 5% of its pre-exploitation biomass and yet fishing continues,” HSI’s Alexia Wellbelove said.  “Incredibly, we expect talks this week will seek to increase the quotas being sought by fishers despite the tuna’s perilous state.”

However HSI’s concerns are not limited to the tuna, as with an increase in quota comes an increase in the numbers of seabirds, sharks and other animals unnecessarily killed as ‘bycatch’ because simple mitigation measures have not been implemented on fishing vessels. This includes 14 threatened albatross species, many of which cannot stand the loss of even small numbers of individuals. This is not only terrible for conservation efforts but easily and entirely avoidable,” continued Ms Wellbelove.

“Without mitigation to reduce albatross bycatch we calculate that one albatross is killed each year for every two tonnes of southern bluefin tuna caught, meaning that any increase in quota will mean hundreds more albatross deaths every year,” continued Ms Wellbelove.

“This week’s CCSBT meeting provides countries with the opportunity to commit to further reduce bycatch in their tuna fisheries, through the agreement to mandatory measures. HSI hopes that in the coming days countries will commit to improving their understanding of the impacts of fishing activities on seabirds and sharks, so that every possible effort is made to reduce this bycatch. This is vital if we want to see the recovery of our threatened albatross and shark species,” concluded Ms Wellbelove.

HSI is available for comment throughout the meeting, which will take place from 14th – 17th October 2013.

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