Ten thousand albatross die for sashimi
At the meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) which gets underway at Old Parliament House in Canberra today, Humane Society International (HSI) will tell the Commission that their annual death toll of endangered albatross is an ecological disaster.
It is estimated that 10,000 of the 13,500 seabirds that die every year on longline fishing vessels targeting southern bluefin tuna are species of albatross. The CCSBT management area coincides with the distribution of 17 of the world’s 24 albatross species, the world’s most endangered group of birds.
“HSI hopes to be able to address the Commission to deliver a warning that they must clean up their fishing practices or end up being responsible for the extinction of some of these magnificent birds,” said Nicola Beynon, HSI Wildlife and Habitat Program Manager.
The Parties to the CCSBT and its extended Commission are Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Taiwan.
In the last ten years they have not been able to agree to any new measures to prevent the capture of seabirds on the longlines most of these countries use to target SBT. “Among other things, HSI will ask that the Commission agrees to weight their lines so that their baited hooks sink quickly out of the reach of seabirds or to set their lines at night,” said Ms Beynon.
Longline fisheries targeting southern bluefin tuna are also suspected to be killing marine turtles and tens of thousands of sharks. The southern bluefin tuna is classified as a critically endangered species.
The Philippines, South Africa and the European Community are ‘cooperating non members’ of the CCSBT and Indonesia has indicated it will soon join the Commission in the same capacity.
CCSBT14 will be held in Canberra from the 16th - 19th October. HSI will be attending the meeting as an observer organisation.