Protected species liaison officers
IntroductionLearn about the role of the liaison officers who provide ongoing in-person contact with fishers at port.
The Protected Species Liaison Programme was established in 2017 and provides liaison support to coastal and inshore commercial fleets of both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The project is managed by the DOC Conservation Services Programme (CSP).
It is an important part of the framework to manage protected species interactions with commercial fisheries. Liasion officers provide a vital interface between skippers, government and researchers.
This programme and its officers do not hold a compliance role. They provide ongoing in-person contact with fishers that aims to:
- answer questions
- share knowledge about current bycatch mitigation legislation and best practice
- establish vessel-specific Protected Species Risk Management Plan in line with mitigation standards
- distribute helpful documents and resources
- provide essential bycatch mitigation materials, ie tori line equipment for longliners
- offer technical support for bycatch mitigation set-up.
Liaison officers are working with the fishing industry to:
- assist fishers to avoid captures of seabirds and other protected species
- support fishers to stay up to date with best practice mitigation and any changes to relevant legislation
- develop vessel specific Protected Species Risk Management Plans.
The progress achieved through the liaison programme is reported on a quarterly basis and made available to stakeholders and the wider public online. View the latest progress update (PDF, 2,438K).
Current mitigation support
To assist fishers with the uptake of proven mitigation measures to reduce the bycatch of protected species, liaison officers are currently distributing the following items:
- hook-shielding devices: currently being offered to fishers who can collect basic information on their usage
- tori line equipment: liaison officers can provide materials and some support in assembling the gear.
The Liaison Programme has a key role in supporting fishers to achieve the National Plan of Action Seabirds 2020, which has a vision for New Zealanders to work towards zero fishing-related seabird mortalities. View the National Plan of Action Seabirds 2020 on the Fisheries website.
DOC is working closely with Fisheries New Zealand (FNZ) and Fisheries Inshore New Zealand (FINZ) to improve mitigation practices and avoid protected species bycatch.
DOC has developed a range of resources for fishers that can be found on the CSP Resources for fishers page. Waterproof, hard copies of resources such as the protected species ID guides and handling and release guide to fishing vessels by liaison officers. Mitigation videos specific to fishing methods are available on this page and a translated into a range of languages.