When commercial fishermen spool out long lines in pursuit of sablefish— better known to consumers as black cod—seabirds looking for an easy meal dive to steal the bait off the series of hooks.

Some unlucky birds get hooked and drown as the line sinks to the deep. 
And when the drowned bird is an endangered species such as the short-tailed albatross, it triggers scrutiny.

"Just one was all it took. Yeah, just one,” said Amanda Gladics, a coastal fisheries specialist with Oregon Sea Grant. "Because they are endangered there is a lot of scrutiny on every single time any of those albatrosses are caught in a fishery."

Gladics and colleagues from Oregon and Washington went to sea to determine the best tactics to avoid bycatch and published those in the journal Fisheries Research. The paper recommends either fishing at night or deploying bird-scaring streamers on a line towed from a mast.

Citing the research, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently directed regulators at NOAA Fisheries to require the West Coast longline fleet use one of the two options. The Pacific Fishery Management Council is scheduled to discuss the matter in mid-November and may provide similar recommendations. 

 

Read the whole article at kuow.org