September 2016
Read about seabird bycatch reduction for small vessel longline fisheries in 2015/16.

This is the final report for seabird bycatch reduction in small vessel longline fisheries 2015/16 and replaces all previous and preliminary reports for it. 


This project was built on previous liaison officer work with another two-year term. the aim of the project was to provide liaison officers to the inshore bottom longline and small vessel surface longline fishing fleets, with a focus on the northern North Island, to assist those fleets in reducing their seabird bycatch, and to coordinate the work of the liaison officers with wider efforts targeted at seabird bycatch redution in relevant fisheries.

The liaison team for 2015/16 comprised two liaison officers and a coordinator. The programme was established with documentation outlining roles and responsibilities, modes of interaction with government and stakeholders, and prioritised lists of vessels for engagement.

Vessels included in the programme were surface and bottom longliners active in Fisheries Management Area 1 and targeting snapper (38 vessels) and bluenose (17 vessels), and surface longline vessels operating off the east coast of the North Island and the west coast of the South Island (38 vessels).

In bottom longline fisheries, Seabird Management Plans were the vehicle for documenting strategies employed day to day on vessels to reduce seabird capture risk. These plans were introduced in 2014/15, and reviewed in 2015/16. In surface longline fisheries, Operational Plans had a similar function, and were developed in 2015/16 for the first time. The range of measures described in these plans varied significantly amongst vessels, illustrating opportunities to continue to encourage the implementation of improved bycatch mitigation strategies in future.

Amongst bottom longline vessels included in the liaison programme in 2015/16, liaison officers had up to four contacts with bluenose vessels and up to 12 contacts with snapper vessels. Up to six contacts were made by the liaison officer with surface longline vessel operators.

Engagement with industry, government, research providers, environmental groups and other stakeholders has been valuable for the liaison programme in 2015/16. In particular, licensed fish receivers have made extremely important contributions to the programme and this is encouraged for future years.

In addition to fostering the involvement of licensed fish receivers in the liaison programme, recommendations for future years include providing a more closely located liaison resource for the west coast of the South Island, having seabird liaison officers and fisheries observers go to sea only in their respective capacities to ensure role clarity, prioritising a small group of higher risk vessels for dedicated liaison activities in 2016/17 such that their mitigation strategies demonstrably improve.

Publication information

Pierre, J.P. 2016. Conservation Services Programme Project MIT2015-01: Seabird bycatch reduction in small vessel longline fisheries: Liaison Coordinator Final Report. Report prepared by JPEC Ltd. for the New Zealand Department of Conservation, Wellington. 56p.


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


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