Saving Birds from Fishing Lines

fishing boatBycatch, as the birds and marine non-fish animals that get caught and killed by fishing gear are called, is a big problem. So the recent BirdLife International news from Uruguay is good news.

One solution for birds is a tori line, which is a bird-scaring line that is towed behind a fishing vessel and that stops birds from coming too close to the fishing hooks. The tori line has bits of material hanging from the line, which is enough to keep the birds away. Study results show that during days when the longline gear was set without using a tori line, 25 birds were caught. However, when a tori line was used, not a single bird was caught.

The remaining challenge is finding a way to prevent the tori line from becoming entangled in the fishing line. Once they solve this problem, it will be easier to persuade long line fleets to use tori lines and to stop killing birds.

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Alison Wheatley

Alison Wheatley

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