May 2017
This is the final report for INT2015-04, on the diving and foraging behaviour of petrels and shearwaters.

This is the final report for INT2015-04: Diving and foraging behaviour of petrels and shearwaters and replaces all previous and preliminary reports for it.


Petrels and shearwaters are known to have an extra-ordinary ability to dive while seeking food - shearwaters for example are capable of diving to the astonishing depth of over 65 m.

This project aims to document the diving and feeding behaviour of petrels and shearwaters in response to fishing baits to inform future development of methods of reducing seabird by-catch. As fishing baits can attract seabirds, there is a significant risk of fatal interactions between seabirds and commercial and recreational fishing activities.

Black petrel Procellaria parkinsoni and flesh-footed shearwater Ardenna carneipes have been identified as being at high risk from commercial fisheries in New Zealand waters, particularly longline fisheries that target snapper and bluenose, in addition to interactions with other commercial fisheries and recreational fishers. This threat is most pronounced during their breeding season (ie. September-April) as these species migrate out of New Zealand waters during winter.

Other species were also observed during this study, notably Buller's shearwater (A. bulleri) and fluttering shearwater (Puffinus gavia). We present distinctions in the bait preference and diving behaviour of black petrels and flesh-footed shearwaters towards baited experiments.

Initial trials for the project:

INT2015-04: Diving and foraging behaviour of petrels & shearwater- initial trials (PDF, 1,952K)

Publication information

Friesen, M.R., Ross, J.R., Robinson, R., Kozmian-Ledward, L. & Gaskin, C.P. 2017. Diving & foraging behaviour of petrels & shearwaters. Report prepared by Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust for the New Zealand Department of Conservation, Wellington. 28p.


Conservation Services Programme
Department of Conservation
PO Box 10-420
Wellington 6143


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