Lüderitz – The Albatross Task Force (ATF) project under the Namibia Nature Foundation hosted a two-day Seabird Bycatch Training at the Namibia Maritime and Fisheries Institute (NAMFI) in Lüderitz last week.
The main objective of the training was to equip fisheries observers, inspectors, researchers and fishermen with the necessary skills and knowledge for collecting data, and monitoring and compliance with seabird bycatch mitigation on demersal trawl and long line fisheries.
Over the two days 34 participants were trained on the biology economy, identification and the dangers seagulls albatrosses, petrels and gannets face from fishing gear particularly from net cables and long line hooks, as well the use of bird scaring lines, the devices that prevent seabirds from interacting with fishing gear and the regulations put in place by government to ensure that the mortality rate of seabirds from fishing vessel is low.
Instructor for the Albatross Task Force Project from Namibia Nature Foundation Titus Shaanika stated that the ATF aims to provide similar training over the coming years both in Lüderitz and Walvis Bay to ensure that all relevant personnel involved in the fishing industry are aware of the mitigations and regulations meant to reduce seabirds bycatch from fishing activity.
“The use of the bird scaring lines ensures the population of albatrosses, petrel and Cape gannets in our waters remains healthy, which in turn ensures that our oceans are healthy and that we can harvest our marine resources such as hake, for generations to come,” said Shaanika.
He thanked the Fisheries Observer Agency, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Lüderitz and various fishing companies for being part of the training and making it a success.