Case study - Southern Seabird Solutions

In July 2002, Southern Seabird Solutions was formed at a workshop attended by parties with a shared interest in the development and implementation of sustainable and responsible fishing practices, in recognition of the need to improve management of the impact from commercial and recreational fisheries on seabirds. 

The concept was officially launched in November 2003 as a registered charitable trust, in partnership with the seafood industry, Department of Conservation, Ministry for Primary Industries, WWF-New Zealand and Te Ohu Kaimoana. Representatives from these groups make up the 15-person board of trustees and management committee.  Its aim is to work with commercial fishing fleet crew and skippers, as well as recreational anglers, to minimise the harm caused to seabirds through fishing.  The initiative has generated much support from some environmental groups, eco-tourism operators, fishing gear retailers and seabird ecologists.

Underpinned by a motto of “conservation through cooperation”, Southern Seabird Solutions empowers and encourages new attitudes and behaviours amongst fishers, and advocates the adoption of practical fishing practices to reduce accidental seabird capture. The group acknowledges that there is no single solution to the problem, and it works collaboratively with partners and supporters to educate and share ideas through workshops and awareness campaigns. Fishing technology designers help to refine solutions, based on feedback from industry professionals, and those whose hands are literally on deck.

Southern Seabird Solutions offers a range of useful tools and resources to professional skippers and crews including: 1930

  • Inshore finfishing and seabird workshops – These are tailored to fit the local fleet and help crew learn about seabird life-cycles and best practice measures. In 2012 there were over 160 skippers and crew involved in these workshops.
  • Commercial fishing and seabirds mitigation DVDs (including: Sharing Worlds - seabirds and fishing Otago/Southland; Sharing the Hauraki Gulf – fishers and black petrel; and Seabird Smart Fishing - deepwater trawl and longline)
  • Seabird safe release (from hook events) poster and guidelines
  • International mitigation mentor programme – Including “cross pollination” of ideas with South America and South Africa and some skipper swaps with South American crews
  • New Zealand Seabirds Long Haul Experts booklet – providing a range of facts about different seabirds found in New Zealand 1931
  • Seabird Smart Awards – recognising people from the industry who demonstrate passion and commitment for a seabird smart fishing culture

Southern Seabird Solutions is keen to see New Zealand fishers become world leaders in the development and use of mitigation measures to avoid seabird mortality from fishing. It also hopes to be able to transfer technology and knowledge between countries, and to be part of a movement that engages fishers, governments, agencies and individuals worldwide.



Last updated at 4:15PM on November 23, 2017