In 2014 The Department of Conservation (DOC) initiated a three year project (MIT2015-01) aimed at reducing bycatch in small vessel longline fisheries.
The objectives for this project were consistent through the three years as follows:
1. To provide one or more liaison officers to the inshore bottom longline and small vessel surface longline fishing fleets, with a focus on northern North Island, to assist those fleets reduce their seabird bycatch.
2. To coordinate the seabird liaison officer roles with wider efforts targeted at seabird bycatch reduction in relevant fisheries to achieve the greatest reduction in bycatch possible.
Observer coverage in the surface longline fishery on New Zealand's (NZ) West Coast of the South Island (WCSI) during the fishing season May-June 2016 highlighted instances of significant seabird capture events and poor use of tori lines.
This prompted an increase in focus for the liaison project towards this fleet and fishery. The refined objective was to deliver an intensive and assertive plan to install and implement a structured and comprehensive risk management programme across the entire domestic surface longline fleet. This was to be undertaken within the ambit of the existing MIT 2015-01 project.
It is to be noted that the larger vessel (50 m+ length overall – LOA) Foreign Licensed Vessel fleet (Japanese freezer longliners) had not been in the fishery in 2015-16 and neither in 2016-17, so the surface longline activity in the NZ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is now entirely a domestic small vessel (17-22 m LOA) operation. Collaboration in the form of meetings between industry, DOC and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) significantly helped scope the details of the proposed programme and its operation.
Collaboration in the form of meetings between industry, DOC and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) significantly helped scope the details of the proposed programme and its operation.
This report encompasses both the Co-ordination and Liaison Officer components of the project, Surface Longline Fleet Liaison Programme (the Programme).
Wells, R. & Cleal, J. 2017. Department of Conservation, Conservation Services Programme Project MIT2015-01 (Year 3: 2016-17), Final Report, Seabird Liaison for Surface Longline Fleet Programme. Report prepared by Resourcewise Ltd & Fishing Vessel Management Services Ltd for the Conservation Services Programme Department of Conservation, New Zealand. 39p.