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Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches



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8 Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches
8.1 Introduction
(by Martin A. Hall)
Fifty years ago, when the oceans’ stocks of fish were thought to be inex-
haustible, there were no so-called ‘by-catches’. Marine scientists studying
fisheries were mostly limited to the monitoring of landings, and they devel-
oped the methods used in fisheries science from this perspective. Discards
and by-catches were not part of the equation. By-catches in the context of
this chapter mean dead discards; and because discarding happens at sea,
land-based monitors could not see this component of the fishing process.
What were the consequences of this very incomplete picture?
For species that were the targets of fisheries, when there were discards
of undersized individuals, or high grading, etc., there was an additional
unaccounted harvest of the population. The figures used to determine
how populations were doing were therefore incorrect, and underesti-
mated impacts.
For non-target species, there were several issues, but one of the biggest
problems seemed to be when by-catches involved low productivity species
mixed in with the higher productivity target species. For example, a tuna that
begins to reproduce at 1.5 years of age, and may produce 100,000,000 eggs
per year cannot be compared with a dolphin that begins to reproduce at
age 10, and can only produce one calf every second year. When dolphins,
sea turtles or seabirds, are taken in fisheries targeting tunas, anchovies,
squids, etc., the level of fishing that could be sustainable for the target
species is far greater than what the by-catch species can sustain. The dilemma
is therefore to reduce fishing to the level that is adequate for the by-catch
species, or to try to break the coupling of the target and by-catch species
via selective fishing.
© 2007 Springer.
S. J. Kennelly (ed.), By-catch Reduction in the World’s Fisheries, 235–288.
At sea, fishers were facing this by-catch issue from their own perspec-
tive. Seabirds taking bait from hooks were reducing fishing opportunities;
the fact that once in a while some would get caught on a hook added to the
aggravation because the bird had to be removed. By-catches of fish species
increased the work on deck in order to discard unwanted individuals. Some
of the by-catch species are also popular among fishers (although those spe-
The first attempts to improve selectivity in fishing gears were simple
changes in mesh size, with the objective of releasing smaller individuals
from the net and retaining only those individuals of desired sizes. But dur-
ing the 1950s and 1960s, more scientists and technicians started going out
to sea frequently, and other impacts became known. Two very different
issues related to by-catch took prominence. One of them was the potential
utilisation of the by-catch from shrimp trawls. Here by-catch was consid-
ered an issue of wastage, a problem of protein harvested but not consumed
and many studies, particularly in tropical areas, discussed the potential
utilisation of that by-catch. The other issue was the realisation by the pub-
lic of the large incidental mortalities of dolphins in the tuna purse-seine
fishery in the eastern Pacific. When the public knew that some very char-
ismatic species were being killed in large numbers by this fishery, reaction
came swiftly. What followed were attempts by the industry’s participants
to ‘sweep the issue under a huge carpet’, denying the existence of the
problem, or trying to argue that the mortalities were sustainable, under a
naive belief that the mortality of a ‘few hundred thousand dolphins,’ even
if it were deemed sustainable, could be accepted by the public. Years of
lobbying and developing political connections by industry, amounted to
little in the face of this new movement that scared and confused the indus-
try. The conflict was quite bitter, and by-catch became a dominant issue in
the management of the tuna fishery. Other by-catch cases soon followed,
involving charismatic components of the ecosystem (sea turtles and sea-
birds), as well as other cases, involving not-so-charismatic species (such as
sharks, juvenile fish, etc.).
To reduce by-catches, we always have two options: ‘fish less or fish
better . The option of fishing less, that at the extreme, leads to banning
some fishing gear or practices entirely, is frequently preferred by some
sectors, but very rarely by the fishing community. Given the social and
economic situations of many countries, it is unlikely that they would
accept the economic impacts, and especially the social costs, caused by
increased unemployment. So for them, the preferred option to reduce
by-catch is usually to find ways to ‘fish better’. To achieve this goal, we
need to find ways to encourage the fishers’ cooperation and participation
in the process. This is a necessary step because: (i) fishers know more
236 Martin A. Hall et al.
cies that take bait or target species are seldom popular), and this brings an
additional incentive to avoid incidental mortality of such species.
about fishing than anybody else; (ii) fishers produce practical solutions, as
the case-studies in this chapter will show, whilst academics produce diag-
noses, but seldom practical solutions; and (iii) because modifying the
behaviour of fishers at sea is frequently part of the solutions, they must be
engaged in the process, rather than forced into it.
In this chapter we provide a variety of case-studies that illustrate the
evolution of fishers, environmental advocates, fisheries managers and oth-
ers, in dealing with by-catch issues. What we have learnt from these pio-
neer experiences should prove useful in facing future by-catch problems.
These case studies offer a variety of views in different fisheries, regions
and conditions that should help inform anyone trying to implement a pro-
gram to reduce by-catches in fisheries. It is by no means a complete pic-
ture, and efforts such as those of TAMAR in Brazil, Karumbe in Uruguay,
Parrish and Melvin in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and those of
Kennelly and Broadhurst in Australia, should be examined for how to suc-
cessfully integrate fishers, scientists and managers in dealing with by-
catch issues. In this chapter, we have elected to concentrate on fisheries
and by-catch issues concerning seabirds, turtles and dolphins – i.e., the char-
ismatic by-catch issues. Other chapters in this book concentrate more on the
non-charismatic by-catches associated with trawling, dredging and hooking.
Our focus here is not on the legal, engineering or scientific aspects of
by-catch issues, but on the development of constructive and responsive
interfaces between fishers, technicians, scientists and managers to succeed
in dealing with by-catch problems. We have not tried to homogenise the
contents of these case-studies: the voices of the storytellers have been
respected and personality and cultural differences have been retained.
Most people working with fishers on by-catch issues are good communica-
tors, and there is little point in second-guessing the style and language of
their choice.
8.2 Case Study 1 – Learning to Work with Fishers
after Twenty Years in the Eastern Pacific Fisheries:
The Tuna-dolphin Case
(by Martin A. Hall)
Almost 20 years ago, a young Latin American boat owner, Mr. Carlos
Arbelaez, with a fleet of several purse-seiners in his stable, walked into my
office. He had seen once again the gory videos of dolphins rolling down a
purse-seine net. It was the same shot that had been shown over and over on
different TV channels and programs. He realised the impact the video
would have on the public and, in spite of the doubts many people in the
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 237
industry had about the authenticity of the video (a strange boat that had
been inactive for years, with a clueless and callous captain and crew, etc.),
we felt that it would be a waste of time to question the images. The behav-
iour of the crew shown in the video was very far from ‘typical’ behaviour
on the boats, as shown in years of scientific observer records, but it was
not impossible that a crew like that existed. Dolphin mortality was happen-
ing, and the figures were quite high (high being defined not in a population-
sense but in a public-perception sense, where numbers have a psychological
value). He asked me what we could do to reduce mortality, and I knew he
meant business.
Over the previous months, we had been studying our observer data, and
we had identified a number of factors that were affecting the level of dol-
phin mortality during fishing operations. There were environmental and
mechanical factors, the availability of gear and its condition, etc. But the
skill, experience, and motivation of captains and crews played a major
role, as shown by differences in the performance of similar vessels operat-
ing in more or less the same areas with similar gear. The willingness of
owners to provide their vessels with the right gear and equipment was also
important. Approximately 20% of the vessels caused close to 80% of the
mortality of dolphins.
However, it was not just technology that was leading to high dolphin
mortality. The effect of individual differences among fishers was also sig-
nificant. In fact, the performance of Carlos’ fleet was the worst of the east-
ern Pacific. Captains that were new to the fishery on dolphins were trying
to grasp the new techniques and equipment, and that learning was costly.
When I showed Carlos the statistics for his fleet, and compared those to
data for the other fleets, he was shocked, and right then and there he
decided to do something about it. Several of his boats were at sea, and the
captains that rotated with those at sea were in Basque country, but he put
his money where his mouth was. He called everyone in, and told me I had
3 days to show them how to lower dolphin mortalities. Very few boat own-
ers would have made that decision; it was a combination of the belief that
something needed to be done, with some trust that we may be able to pro-
duce a change, and the economic courage to put up a considerable sum of
money to back those beliefs. In less than 3 years, that fleet had the lowest
dolphin mortality rates of all those operating in the eastern Pacific and in
12 years, the incidental mortality of dolphins for the whole international
fleet had been cut to 1% of the original level. After that first effort, we
have been organising workshops for tuna fishers for almost 20 years. This
is the story of how we learned to work with the fishers, and how they
learned to work with us.
238 Martin A. Hall et al.
Role playing
Can you really put yourself in somebody else’s shoes? We had to show
people who spent most of their time at sea the way their activity was being
portrayed, and therefore perceived, by the public. We had to explain to
them that, even though the dolphins were not in danger of extinction, the
public response was strong enough to create a need for the industry to
respond to mitigate the problem.
We had to decide how to use this opportunity to communicate with them
in a very effective way.
The first thing we did was to show them all the videos seen on TV
newscasts and documentaries, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, fly-
ers and pamphlets. Even though they complained bitterly at the way they
were being portrayed, they understood.
Round 1 finished with the acknowledgement that they had to face the
problem, and an awareness of the possible consequences of not doing so.
Nobody could promise them a solution if things changed, but it was quite
obvious that only a major change could give them a fighting chance to
keep their jobs and their industry in operation.
Fishers need to understand the problem they are facing, and believe in the
proposed solutions. In this case, it was believing in their own ability to
change the impact of the fishery. We showed them that some boats were
doing very well in reducing dolphin mortality, and those vessels had no sig-
nificant differences from the others in equipment or in their productivity.
Round 2 began with putting together the necessary building blocks, by
firstly providing the fishers with an introduction to the species involved –
in this case, the dolphins and the tunas. A lot of judgment is required to
decide what they need to know – what could be helpful for them to under-
stand these aspects of the ecology and behaviour of tunas and dolphins that
are important and perhaps even to anticipate the circumstances that lead to
incidental captures. They don’t need to become biologists, and the person
in charge of the presentation is not there to show off how much he/she
knows. No jargon, no Latin names, no complicated sentences. Clear, useful
information and concepts, briefly and well explained. Why state the obvi-
ous? Because many people seem to have a major difficulty communicating
directly. For many, scientific training results in an increasing inability to
convey concepts without a heavy load of jargon.
The next component of the discussion with the fishers was an under-
standing of what we know about the factors that cause or increase
by-catches. These ranged from environmental factors (e.g., strong cur-
rents), to gear and operational factors (e.g., execution of release manoeu-
vres, availability of rescue equipment, etc.), and the skill and motivation of
captains and crews. Parallel to the identification of each problem, we
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 239
developed the responses that had originated from the fishers themselves
over the years. This review of factors causing by-catch was an excellent
opportunity to bring to the table their individual experiences and percep-
tions in sometimes heated discussions. This was an excellent learning time
for everyone.
We also discussed the performance of the fleet and, in private with each
captain, their individual performances. In the highly-competitive environ-
ment of this tuna fleet, looking bad in front of their peers is something
fishers would all like to avoid. At the same time, their understanding that a
few captains were responsible for the image of the entire fleet and the
majority of the problem was very useful to build a management model
based on recognising those differences. The captains were always strong
supporters of management schemes that separated ‘good’ from ‘bad’ fishers.
For over 10 years now, the fleet has operated with an overall dolphin
mortality limit, but that limit is divided by the number of participating ves-
sels, and each vessel receives an individual dolphin mortality limit for a
year. If a vessel’s limit is exceeded, it has to stop setting on dolphins for
the rest of the year. Fishers always liked this scheme, because they didn’t
want to be the victims of others’ lack of skill or motivation. Individual res-
ponsibility in management is an excellent concept when it is feasible; it is
fair and equitable, and with time it results in a selective process for better
captains and crews. Most of the captains who were involved in the higher-
mortality trips are now gone from the fishery. When the boat owners real-
ised that the better captains were not only those that filled the boats
quickly, but that did so without compromising the fate of the vessel with
carelessness about dolphins, the changes happened.
To reduce conflicts, we also clarified the role of observers, and finished
by presenting to the fishers the problems we are still trying to solve, and
asked for their impressions and suggestions, plus criticisms about the way
we are proposing to work. And we listen. Sometimes there are simpler
ways to achieve the same ends; sometimes the proposed solutions have
unintended consequences. Once the workshops started, many fisheries
authorities decided to follow our model, and today these workshops organ-
ised by the IATTC or by national dolphin program staff take place several
times a year, in different countries and ports.
At the end of the workshops, private meetings are held with the fishing
captains present to review their records of performance. Very frequently,
the reasons for poor performances become evident from these records.
Gear availability and use, problems with release manoeuvres, and risk-
taking tendencies, are all described one-on-one. You don’t want to embar-
rass proud and very independent people, as these fishers are, but you need
to show them why their performances are below par. Sometimes, they may
share their ‘score’ with others, but it remains their choice to do so. Their
240 Martin A. Hall et al.
competitive instincts are heightened by the interactions with their peers,
which often consist of using a sense of humour as a pointed stick, to jab at
those bringing problems to the others. This is a male society; there are no
women captains in the eastern Pacific. In many cases the ports are far
away from the captains’ homes, and all their contacts are limited to a small
world composed of captains, navigators, deck bosses, boat owners and the
staffs of the national fisheries agencies and the IATTC. The social net-
works in which these fishers work are quite limited in membership, but
they are crucial in the formation of opinions.
At the workshops, we emphasise the issues for which we have no answers
yet, (e.g., by-catches of other species) and we ask them to start thinking
about those problems. We usually show them gear changes and innova-
tions from other fisheries that are of potential interest in our fishery, which
may later be tested and introduced, and seek their views. The communica-
tion among fishers from different regions is quite weak, and we try to rem-
edy that by serving as a channel for those ideas. As an example of this, we
have started showing the fishers the sorting grids developed in the Norwe-
gian mackerel and saithe fisheries to release smaller fishes alive, and those
used in Canada to release smaller salmon. This is always accompanied
with questions about their perception of the usefulness of those ideas in the
tuna fishery.
Acknowledgement of the good performers is as important as identifica-
tion of those responsible for most of the problems. Each year, the captains
with the best performance in reducing dolphin mortality are recognised.
We make sure to highlight the examples of leadership, responsibility and
consistency among the captains.
8.3 Case Study 2 – Sea Turtles, Longlines,
and the Artisanal Fisheries of the Eastern Pacific
(by Martin A. Hall)
The critical condition of several of the populations of leatherback turtles in
the Pacific Ocean led to an increasing level of concern in the late 1900s
and early 2000s. In spite of years of nest-protection programs, and the
implementation of Turtle Excluder Device (TED) programs, the popula-
tions continued to decline. By-catch in fisheries was considered to be one
of the reasons, if not the main reason, for the decline. Information was
scarce, and clearly insufficient to assess the level of mortality caused by
coastal gillnets, industrial and artisanal longliners, etc., in a rigorous way.
In any case, longline fisheries were in the sights of many who thought that
the only way to save the turtles was a moratorium on all fisheries that
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 241
contributed to the decline in their populations. We started drawing the
attention of governments and industry leaders to this crisis, and the Inter-
national Fishers Forum II, held in Hawaii in 2002, was a great opportunity to
show them the problems and possible solutions, and to identify a global
effort that was developing to save both the turtles and the fisheries involved.
The more visionary and better informed sector of the industry was per-
suaded by a technical advisor, Ingro. Guillermo Morán who attended that
Forum, that it was in their best interests to face the problem, and work at
finding a solution that could ensure the survival of their industry. But the
good intentions of the industry needed an echo in the government, and the
Under Secretary of Fisheries of Ecuador at the time, Mrs. Lucia De Genna,
had the vision to see the problem, and more importantly, the courage to go
forward. Why courage? Because every time that a fishery is opened to
scrutiny for any reason, its fishing practices and their impacts become
exposed, and some of them may cause negative reactions from the public,
managers, etc. Very seldom has openness been rewarded. Governments
and cooperatives of fishers, were keenly aware of the potential impact for
their economies and employment levels. Hundreds of thousands of work-
ers depend on longlining for their livelihood, and they are already in mar-
ginal economic and social situations, with very few options available to
them. Pressure was clearly evident to find a solution that would allow the
survival of the industry, and keep the fishers employed. This was one of the
When the IATTC received a request from the Under Secretary of Fish-
eries Resources of Ecuador, strongly supported by the Association of
Exporters and the National Federation of Fishers Cooperatives of Ecuador,
it became necessary to search for solutions, and for a strategy to implement
them. Researchers from NOAA had been testing a wider type of hook, a
circle hook, that reduced sea turtle mortality in two ways: (i) by reducing
hooking rates, and (ii) by changing the way the turtles are hooked, increas-
ing the survival of the turtles that did get hooked. The hooks also did not
reduce the catch rates of the target species, and in some cases even increased
catch rates.
It seemed that changing the type of hook was a reasonable thing to do,
so the next problem faced was the development of an implementation
strategy. The necessary steps were:
1. Show that the circle hooks are an effective way of reducing sea
turtle mortality.
2. Show the fishers that they can continue making a living with the
new technology, i.e., that the catch rates with circle hooks would
be at least equivalent to current levels with conventional J hooks.
main ingredients that led to action.
242 Martin A. Hall et al.
3. Make sure that the adoption of the circle hooks was economically
Since you can’t expect a fisher to agree to change the basic fishing instru-
ment based on experiments performed in other fisheries and regions, it
became obvious that they needed to test the hooks in their own fishing
conditions; in their boats, with their baits, in their fishing grounds, etc.
The decision was to facilitate these tests by providing the circle hooks
free of charge, and inviting the fishers to compare the new hooks with the
old ones in comparative trials. We obtained the very willing cooperation of
the NOAA authorities and researchers, of the Western Pacific Regional
Fishery Management Council (WPRFMC), and of the World Wildlife
Fund (WWF), to develop a program to begin these tests. We offered the
fishers the opportunity to exchange some of their hooks for the new ones
free of charge. After testing them for a trip or two, they had the option to
undo the exchange, return the circle hooks and recover their J hooks. With
these same partners (NOAA, WPRFMC, IATTC, and WWF), with the
addition of the Overseas Fishery Cooperation Foundation (OFCF) from
Japan, with contributions from The Ocean Conservancy, and Defenders of
Wildlife-Mexico, and with the participation and support from government
The key issues in this process were:
- fishers’ participation was voluntary, after they were explained the
situation and the reasons to join the program;
- the hook exchange was partial, so we reduced the risk involved;
- the exchange was free, but the operation was not a charity;
- fishing effort was not increased;
- the results were monitored through an observer program, and made
available to all fishers;
- instruments and technical training to reduce mortality of hooked tur-
tles were provided to the fishers.
The program was introduced using workshops, modelled from our experi-
ence with the tuna fleet outlined earlier in this chapter. We explained what
was needed, why, and the way we were proposing to go about it.
After the experiments were begun, we followed up with frequent con-
tacts with the fishers to assess the performance of the hooks, and the diffi-
culties they caused. We learned about the difficulties for baiting and storage
posed by the use of hooks of different sizes and shapes on the same line,
and we helped find options to reduce these difficulties. We also worked
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 243
fisheries agencies in all countries, national conservation organisations, and
national industry and fish workers organisations, the program has rapidly
expanded to all countries operating in the eastern Pacific.
with them in finding the right hook with respect to size, design and materi-
als. For circle hooks, there are different materials and designs available.
When hooks rusted quickly, or when there was some breakage of hooks,
they were replaced by other types, brands or materials. Following their
evaluations, we explored the various options available, and settled on one
that could help the turtles without harming the fishers’ catches.
Solutions were not imposed, but were developed with their active par-
ticipation. Frequent contacts are needed to keep the flow of information
going both ways: we received their feedback and suggestions for adapta-
tions of the program, and we provided them with the results for the whole
group of vessels involved in the work.
During the communication process with the fishers, we gathered a host
of ideas about possible ways to reduce sea turtle mortality. For example,
seeing the tendency of the turtles to approach the float, and become entan-
gled near them, they suggested replacing the lines connecting the float and
the line by cable, or stiffer materials, changing the colour of the floats,
using fewer floats, etc. We are currently in the process of setting up these
In the case of artisanal fish workers, their organisations are an important
point of contact, and we have had the support, and the presence in work-
shops of the leaders of FENACOPEC (Ecuador’s National Federation of
Fishers’ Cooperatives) and later in Peru of the sister organisation, the
Frente Integrado Unico de Pescadores Artesanales del Peru (FIUPAP). A
message presented by the government’s fisheries authorities, industry, export-
ers, environmentalists, scientists, and their own elected leaders, has much
more power to influence people than the isolated effort from any one of
these sectors.
At the same time that we recognise the major role of the fish workers’
organisations, we have to remember that in many cases a large proportion
of fishers do not belong to any organisation. This means that our efforts
should not be channelled exclusively through them, but must also include
the participation of independent groups and individuals.
Another important difference with respect to tuna captains was that the
roles of the family unit and of the community were very important. While
the men are concerned with the day-to-day needs and problems of their
operations, the women in these families are the ones interacting with fish
buyers, governments and other sectors, and they understand well the impact
that different market problems could have. They are also operating on a
longer time-horizon that the men, more concerned with the continuity of
the day-to-day operations, and they will be the reminders, in the future, of
what needs to be done. In these fishing communities, social interactions
are important, and the size of the social networks is much larger than in the
tuna fleet. First of all, large families frequently inhabit the same village,
244 Martin A. Hall et al.
and they frequently function as a unit for the purposes of communication,
formation of opinion, etc. Children begin to go to sea when they are 10 or
11 years old, during school holidays, and they can also be vehicles for
change. Programs targeting schools in fishing villages could have much
more rapid effects than are often seen in programs of environmental educa-
tion directed to the public at large, which are prolonged, difficult to evalu-
ate, and slow in bringing change.
The leadership of these fishing communities is different than the leader-
ship of the fish workers’ organisations. The former leaders, who are frequen-
tly women, have a significant power in the group, and their endorsement of
the work is very valuable. They also have a clear perspective that the prob-
lem cannot be solved by only a few of them. Unless everyone contributes
his or her share of the solution, the problem won’t go away; a few careless
fishers may cause the defeat of the efforts of the rest of the community –
and we can offer them the example of the tuna-dolphin case outlined ear-
lier to illustrate that.
Of course, the sea turtle by-catch issue is only one of the issues faced by
the fish workers’ sector on this region, and we should not lose sight of the
other social and economic factors that affect these communities. A strong
and active fish workers’ sector is in critical need for sustainable fisheries
management, and we should use every opportunity to contribute to the
achievement of this larger goal. To work with fishers we need to understand
and respect their organisations, and to reach out to those not belonging to
them. As the fish workers are the first victims of poor fisheries manage-
ment, we should empower them to become more like the custodians of the
resources they harvest.
The success of the above approach resulted in an expansion of the pro-
gram to cover practically all countries from the Pacific coast of America
from Mexico to Peru, and the welcome addition of the support and col-
laboration of many other organisations from all sectors. In each country,
government agencies, local environmental organisations, and industry sec-
tors, are participating in the activities. A network of scientists and manag-
ers has also been created, linked through the common support of the
NOAA and IATTC scientific staffs, and of the WWF national and regional
offices involved (Peru, Colombia, Central America and Mexico) that coor-
dinate the implementation of the program with the respective fisheries
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 245
agencies. The process is built on two basic, simple premises: (i) nobody
wants to kill sea turtles, nor drive them to extinction, and (ii) nobody wants
to put fishers out of work. With a common ground, and building trust
among the participants, we are hoping to put together a different model to
face conservation problems; a model based on cooperation, in which the
resources and motivations of all the sectors are brought together.
8.4 Case Study 3 – The Tori Pole in the Japanese
Longline Fishery
(by Hideki Nakano and Shelley Clarke)
8.4.1 Introduction
Seabird interactions with fishing gear resulting in inadvertent by-catch and
mortality occur in several Japanese longline fisheries. One of these is the
Japanese southern bluefin tuna fishery operating in sub-Antarctic waters,
mainly in the Indian Ocean. Fishing vessels are approximately 400 tonnes
in capacity and 50 m in length, with crews of 20 to 25 usually comprised of
Japanese officers and non-Japanese deck crew and seamen. Seabird by-
catch, consisting mainly of 20 species of albatross, is a major issue in these
fishing grounds. Given concerns raised by several conservation organisa-
tions and Japanese authorities regarding incidental catches of seabirds in
longline fisheries by various nations, Japan is committed to objectively and
scientifically analysing the impact of its longline fisheries under a basic
policy of encouraging fishers to develop creative solutions to by-catch
issues. A method for reducing seabird by-catch by employing bird scaring
lines, called ‘tori’ (Japanese for ‘bird’) poles, was originally implemented
by Japanese fishers and has been required by the Convention for the Con-
servation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) for all longline vessels since
1991. It is believed that this device reduces the level of seabird by-catch by
approximately one third.
Seabird by-catch is also an issue in the North Pacific Ocean. Of the
three species of albatrosses occurring in this area, Laysan and Black-footed
albatrosses comprise the majority of the by-catch. Vessels operating here
can be categorised into coastal, offshore and distant water fleets. Coastal
fishing vessels are less than 10 tonnes, have crews of 1 to 3, and are at sea
for less than 1 week. Offshore fishing vessels are between 10 and 120 MT,
have crews of less than 10 and are at sea for periods ranging from 1 week
to 1 month. Their fishing grounds are located west of the international date
line. Distant water longline fishing vessels are larger than 120 tonnes, have
crews of 15–20, are at sea for periods of two to three months, and may
range farther from Japan than the offshore vessels. Nearly all of the crews
in the coastal and offshore fleets are Japanese but in the distant water fleet,
most crews are non-Japanese with the exception of a few officers. When
officers and crew are of different nationalities, not only do problems of
communication and education regarding mitigation measures for sea birds
arise, but also in such situations there is often a different perspective on
fishing operations. In particular, previous traditions of passing knowledge
246 Martin A. Hall et al.
and skill from more experienced crew members to newcomers are broken
as foreign crew members are not seen as apprentices. Instead, foreign
crews are considered a necessity to continue operations when economic
conditions preclude the attraction of Japanese workers.
8.4.2 The Tori Pole Solution
Although it is not known who first invented the tori pole, it has been
documented that a Japanese fishing master working in the southern bluefin
tuna fishing grounds was deploying the device as early as 1988. The tori-
pole system involves a solid line towed from a pole installed at the stern of the
streamers and bird-avoidance tapes,
aimed at deterring seabirds from taking baited hooks. Since albatrosses
have poor in-flight manoeuvrability, their feeding behaviour is disrupted
when obstacles are set above the area where baited hooks are cast onto the
water surface. The tori pole was initially designed to prevent seabirds from
stealing fish from baited longline hooks and therefore increase the catch of
target species, as well as minimise seabird interference with line retrieval.
In addition to these objectives, some fishers may have welcomed the tori
pole because they believe that seabirds are an incarnation of the gods and
that seabirds indicate good fishing grounds, therefore avoiding the killing
of seabirds will bring good luck. For these reasons, the tori pole conformed
perfectly to fishers’ own interests and thus spread on its on accord
throughout the fishery. It was subsequently adopted as a regulatory require-
ment under the CCSBT as a means of protecting and conserving seabirds,
but it is important to recognise that for Japanese fishers, it was not origi-
nally intended specifically for that purpose.
8.4.3 Remaining Problems with Seabird By-catch
The implementation of the tori pole in the southern bluefin tuna fishing
grounds has been highly successful because it reduced seabird by-catch by
one third. Nevertheless, by-catch in this fishery still results in the mortality
of seabirds and thus further by-catch reduction is desirable. It has been
documented in field trials that other by-catch reduction methods, such as
sary to order pre-dyed bait from suppliers, primarily located in China and
Vietnam. At present there is insufficient demand for blue-dyed bait to
fishing vessel, equipped with a curtain of
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 247
making bait less viable using a harmless blue dye, can be even more effec-
tive than the tori pole. However, the introduction of blue-dyed bait faces
some obstacles in acceptance and implementation. Firstly, although the cost
of the blue dye is low, the crew cannot dye the bait themselves on deck due
to the rough weather conditions of sub-Antarctic waters and it is thus neces-
make its cost competitive with standard baits. Fishers are accustomed to
changing bait suppliers frequently in order to achieve cost savings, and
therefore the additional effort required in acquiring blue-dyed bait is seen
as both an additional expense and an inconvenience. The key issue in pro-
moting the use of blue-dyed bait will be to change bait market dynamics so
that demand for blue-dyed bait increases, resulting in greater availability
and lower prices.
Other potential mitigation measures include weighting of branch lines,
setting lines underwater, avoiding disposal of offal from the vessels during
line setting, using automatic bait-casting machines and properly thawed
bait, setting lines at night, using water-jet devices, and setting from the
side of the vessels. These techniques have undergone various types of test-
ing and implementation, and have been shown to have different degrees of
effectiveness and acceptability to fishers.
Japanese longline vessels in the North Pacific do not employ the tori
pole widely despite its proven effectiveness and acceptance in the southern
ocean. There are several reasons for this. The most apparent is that there is
a relatively lower abundance of threatened seabirds such as albatrosses in
the North Pacific compared to the South Pacific and as yet there is no
mandate for tori pole usage, nor any other seabird by-catch mitigation
measures in the North Pacific. Furthermore, fishers have resisted calls for
voluntary implementation saying that the design of the tori pole would
need to be scaled down for use on the smaller vessels employed in the
coastal and offshore longline fleets, which conduct most of the Japanese
fishing operations in the North Pacific. In addition to the re-scaling of the
device’s design, simultaneous operation of the tori pole, and setting and retri-
eval of longline gear, poses a significant challenge due to the smaller crew
size in these fleets. Impediments to widespread adoption of blue-dyed bait
also exist in the North Pacific. Onboard dyeing may be possible in some
cases but the purchase of pre-dyed bait from suppliers is likely to be pref-
erable given operational constraints such as deck space and crew size.
Since Japanese longliners in the North Pacific use domestic suppliers and
may prefer to maintain long-standing supplier contracts, different market
incentives may be required to influence the availability of blue-dyed bait
for North Pacific fleets.
8.4.4 Characteristics of the Japanese Situation
One of the strengths of the Japanese political system is its ability to act
quickly to achieve resolution of problems that are raised. However, the
range of possible actions that can be taken by government in response to
by-catch issues is limited due to its historical relationship with the fishing
248 Martin A. Hall et al.
industry. As a traditionally coast-oriented nation, many decades ago, Japan
evolved a system of fishing rights management based on mutual agree-
ments between communities. In later years, as the central government
grew stronger, its role was limited to adjusting these agreements as neces-
sary rather than regulating with a firm hand. Japan’s heavy reliance on
coastal resources, in combination with rapid population growth, also cre-
ated a need for distant water fishing activities to meet food requirements
much earlier than in other countries. As a result, fishing communities have
maintained a strong sense of independence and self-governance and the
government usually considers it best that new policies be initiated by the
fishing community itself.
The maintenance of this historical system during the development of
modern Japan has also resulted in a strong hierarchical structuring of the
fishing community and its various interest groups. The fishing sector is
characterised by a number of industry organisations which serve as chan-
nels of information to fishers. While such organisations may facilitate dis-
semination of information, the large number of layers between government
or scientific staff and the fishers themselves can prevent direct communi-
cation. In one way, this may result in fishers failing to appreciate interna-
tional conservation concerns due to no direct experience with such issues,
compounded by cultural or language differences, and a lack of attention by
the Japanese media to conservation topics. On the other hand, the situation
may hinder the recognition of fishers’ own innovations by government and
the rewarding of such innovations with incentives.
In recent years, the Japanese fishing industry feels it has suffered from a
number of negative influences. As certain fisheries have closed (for exam-
ple the drift net fisheries in the early 1990s) some fishers have converted to
other gear types, but many now find their new fisheries are under pressure
from a combination of over-capacity and limited resources. In many cases,
foreign lobby groups are seen as contributing to fishers’ hardships and thus
the fishing industry may be reluctant to share information freely. As des-
cribed above, many vessels are now crewed by a combination of Japanese
officers and non-Japanese workers in order to reduce operating costs. Nev-
ertheless, some of these vessels are managing only to cover basic costs and
are not otherwise profitable, hence such vessels are unwilling to make any
significant investment in by-catch mitigation gear or training.
8.4.5 Outlook and Conclusion
It is likely that several factors, working in concert, will be necessary to
resolve seabird by-catch issues in Japanese longline fisheries. Current ini-
tiatives by government and scientists to provide educational materials to
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 249
fishing industry organisations in the form of laminated panels, booklets,
posters and educational videos should be continued. While fishing industry
representatives are responsive to these initiatives, other efforts to directly
contact fishers through educational and feedback sessions in fishing ports
should also be pursued.
Despite an expected increase in awareness of conservation issues, the
response of the fishing sector is likely to continue to be based on economic
factors. In this sense, the ongoing, gradual reform of the fishing industry
through both vessel de-commissioning and the inevitable discontinuance
of unprofitable operations will result in a fleet that should be able to absorb
the costs of by-catch mitigation. However, further economic incentives
may be necessary to subsidise by-catch mitigation, at least in the initial
stages of implementation. This could take the form of government-
sponsored research into tori pole re-sizing for the North Pacific or stimu-
lating the market for blue-dyed bait.
In parallel, it is essential to continue by-catch research activities. Although
most technical aspects of reducing by-catch are already well understood,
further work to facilitate implementation of existing techniques by specific
fleets may be required, for example improving methods for side setting of
lines or new dyeing methods for bait. In addition, it is necessary to study
the by-catch situation in various fleets and areas in order to identify which
operations are most likely to benefit from mitigation measures.
Ultimately, successful solutions will not be achieved by top-down deci-
sion-making in Japanese fishing fleets. Mitigation measures which are ef-
fective and easy to implement, and which will diffuse through the fishery
by means of the fishers themselves, provide the best hope for achieving
by-catch mitigation targets while maintaining economically viable longline
This case study has illustrated:
- The tori pole mitigation method was implemented independently by
Japanese fishers in response to their own desire to reduce seabird by-
- Barriers to implementation of the tori pole in other fisheries stem
from important structural and economic differences in operations;
- The Japanese Government is working to distribute educational mate-
rials and sponsoring mitigation research, but does not have a history
of strong intervention in fishing operations; and
- Fishers may respond most favourably to low- or no-cost measures
proposed by the industry itself, particularly when incentives are pro-
vided by Government.
250 Martin A. Hall et al.
8.5 Case Study 4 – Southern Seabird Solutions:
Conservation Through Cooperation
(by Simon Thomas and Janice Molloy)
To spread news, find a gossip; to spread new behaviour, find a role-model.
The Southern Seabird Solutions Trust developed from a workshop in Nelson,
New Zealand in July 2002 that incorporated fishers and fishing company
representatives, government departments, environmental NGOs and sea-
bird researchers.
The timing was certainly right in terms of engaging the interest of fish-
ing companies because the killing of 312 white-chinned petrels by a king-
clip auto-liner seven months earlier had gained the attention of the New
Zealand public and politicians. The issues of seabird by-catch and mitiga-
tion had been known about and worked on in industry circles for a long
time. But this incident, and the political interest it generated, suddenly
made progress more urgent. In addition to this, forward-thinking industry
participants at the Nelson workshop realised that seabird kills in other parts
of the world – by other fisheries – might affect them if seabird breeding
populations on New Zealand’s offshore islands fell as a result. Tough
measures would be introduced for vessels fishing in our waters to safe-
guard these seabirds if this happened. As most of these seabirds actually
spend much of their lives in other parts of the world, working with South-
ern Africa, South America and Australia was seen as critical.
Having something at stake helped engage companies, fishers and the
wider industry. They could agree something needed to be done, and that it
needed to happen out on the water – where both the problems and solu-
tions lay.
All involved in the Southern Seabird Solutions group saw the issue as
solvable and as something they needed to work together on. And while
there were not infrequent tensions between these various parties in other
areas of fisheries management, we all ‘left our swords at the door’ when
we came together for Southern Seabird Solutions meetings.
Engendering this trustful and cooperative approach between our partners
has been the cornerstone of the group’s success.
Most of Southern Seabird Solutions projects involve fishers, simply
because fishers are most receptive to new ideas from their peers. For
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 251
It was decided that there was a need to accelerate the transfer of ‘seabird-
smart’ attitudes and behaviours amongst the skippers and crews in a fishing
fleet. Doing this required the trust and co-operation of all parties – govern-
ment agencies, environmental NGOs and, above all others, fishers and fish-
ing companies. And, surprisingly, this trustful attitude came quite readily.
instance, the group has carried out two skipper-exchange projects to date,
one between Chile and New Zealand and the other between New Zealand
and Reunion Island. Both have had excellent outcomes. In the Chilean
exchange, the skipper returned home motivated to continue spreading
good practice in his own fleets. He has attended workshops around Chile
talking about his experiences in New Zealand and describing the measures
he observed being used. In the Reunion Island exchange, the whole fleet
has begun using a new weighted longline that sinks the line quickly out of
the diving range of seabirds.
Both fishers and companies need to feel good about themselves, and
about their adoption of ‘seabird-smart’ fishing techniques. Like everyone,
they like to be seen as ‘good citizens’. So with the help of environmental
NGOs and government agencies, the Southern Seabirds group has helped
industry mitigation efforts and successes to be celebrated publicly through
the general news media, as well as through seafood trade publications.
The Southern Seabirds group focused much of its efforts during its first
three years on this communication of successes; and most particularly
communicating these successes within industry circles. Monthly stories
were carried in the Seafood New Zealand magazine that celebrated role-
model skippers, new ‘seabird-smart’ fishing technologies and information
on the birds themselves. The stories had a huge effect in building and main-
taining support from across the fishing community and wider industry.
A classic example of the effect of these was the reception that a new
seabird mitigation advisory officer (a fisher himself) got when visiting a
fleet he had never had contact with previously. He found the skippers all
read Seafood New Zealand magazine, and knew who he was, and about the
concept of ‘seabird-smart’ fishing. They welcomed him aboard their ves-
sels and were eager to have him help them improve the ways they fished.
We have found this role of seabird mitigation advisory officer crucial in
spreading attitudinal and behavioural change across a fleet, particularly
amongst inshore fleets that may have many small vessels. And as the pre-
vious example illustrates, we found targeted communications materials
that support their work helped accelerate the progress an advisory officer
makes with a fleet. We found that fishers can also more easily stand in the
shoes of another fisher and know how to communicate the message in a
way that is meaningful. So the group has always aimed at fisher-to-fisher
We recently ran workshops at different ports in northern New Zealand,
aimed at inshore longliners, and hosted by their local fish-receiving shed.
We brought several role-model fishers from other fleets to talk at these, as
well as an environmental representative with knowledge of seabirds and
their conservation. Part of our purpose was to thank fishers for their efforts
to date and to encourage them to continue using seabird-smart fishing
252 Martin A. Hall et al.
practices. The workshops were all held in the local bars, which ensured
good attendance. Participants were given T-shirts with the group’s logo
and catch phrase ‘Conservation through Cooperation’; the venues and the
T-shirts helped create an atmosphere of receptiveness.
Other fisher-to-fisher work included the production of a ‘seabird-smart’
fishing video. This was hosted and narrated by a fisher, and largely fea-
tured skippers and vessel managers from different fleets talking about the
issue. The video proved hugely popular, with copies being distributed free
amongst New Zealand fleets. The video has since been translated into
in the skipper-exchange programme.
A critical factor in the success of Southern Seabird Solutions has been
developing a goal that everyone can agree on and work towards. In addi-
tion, gathering this initially loose coalition of interest groups under a name
and governance structure has resulted in a cohesion and identity that mem-
bers are proud to be part of. The main limiting factor to date has been
securing enough resources to undertake the many additional projects we
have lined up.
In summary, the key elements of success of Southern Seabird Solutions
have been good timing in terms of the public profile of the issue, develop-
ing a common goal, patience, a no-surprises approach, behaviours that
engender trust, use of fishers as role models and messengers, and public
acknowledgement of the efforts of fishers through the media. We have had
a high level of engagement from longline fleets, but have yet to achieve this
or with recreational fishers, both
will be among our next priorities.
8.6 Case Study 5 – Networks, Knowledge
and Communication: An Integrated Approach
to Empowering Fishers to Reduce Turtle By-catch
(by Hoyt Peckham, Johath Laudino-Santillán, and Wallace J. Nichols)
In August 2002, Anselmo Ruiz-Camacho, a halibut fisher from Baja Cali-
fornia Sur, Mexico, asked, ‘How can loggerhead turtles possibly be endan-
gered? I caught thirty in my nets this morning.’ We were astonished. We
had come to Puerto Lopez Mateos, a small fishing village on the Pacific
coast of Baja California Sur to study sea turtles, but not dead ones.
‘Thirty?’ we asked, hoping we had misunderstood his heavily accented
Spanish. ‘Thirty,’ he confirmed. ‘All but two dead.’
We spent the next few days offshore with Anselmo hand-catching tur-
tles, and during that time we did our best to help him answer the question
Spanish and a special introduction added from the Chilean fisher involved
with the New Zealand large-scale trawl fleets
of whom catch seabirds. These fisheries
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 253
for himself. We explained how loggerheads in the North Pacific only nest
in Japan and, drawing maps in the sand, we explained that they swim
across the Pacific as juveniles to feed their way to maturity in the rich
waters of Baja California Sur (BCS; Fig. 8.1). He protested, saying he and
his friends frequently catch loggerheads in summer, that one guy caught
seventy in a single day, so how, really, could they be endangered? Together
we looked over graphs of nesting trends from Japan. Fewer than 1500 log-
gerheads had nested in the North Pacific the winter before, and nesting had
declined 50 to 80% over the past decade (Kamezaki et al. 2003).
Anselmo’s question was painfully ironic but not unusual; we’ve heard
the same question from dozens of other fishers along his coastline. Despite
local perceptions, there are now few loggerheads in the Pacific, and they
are declining rapidly (Kamezaki et al. 2003). Those few left appear to be
numerous to Anselmo and his fellow fishers because they regularly aggre-
gate at unusually high densities off the Baja California peninsula. We
interviewed these fishers at length and conducted surveys along a 50 km
shoreline to gauge the extent and identify the cause of local turtle by-catch.
Local gillnetters catch an average of four turtles per week during their four
month halibut season. Most turtles are caught dead, and fishers throw the
Baja California Peninsula
Bahia de Ulloa
Fig. 8.1. Pacific Ocean. Inset: Bahia de Ulloa
254 Martin A. Hall et al.
majority of carcasses overboard after disentangling them. Somewhere bet-
ween thirty to seventy pangas (6 to 9 m outboard-powered skiffs) fish bot-
tom-set gillnets and longlines out of Puerto Lopez Mateos, Anselmo’s
We began with what we knew was working – personal conversations
and shared experiences. Anselmo quickly grasped the reality of the by-
catch problem, and he acted on it. He and his wife and four sons adopted
one of the turtles we captured together and helped us fit her with a satellite
transmitter and release her. They named her Esperanza (‘Hope’ in English)
and avidly tracked her movements via regular updates we faxed and
emailed them (Fig. 8.2). Anselmo left the fishery the following summer in
Fig. 8.2. Family with the loggerhead turtles they helped to catch, fit with a satellite
transmitter, release and track
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 255
Extrapolating from these data we came to understand that by-catch along
Anselmo’s coast is one of the most significant known sources of loggerhead
mortality in the entire North Pacific (Peckham et al. 2004). We realised that
the future of loggerheads in the North Pacific lies heavily in the hands of
Anselmo and other Baja California Sur fishers. Our objectives thus became
clear: (i) to empower the people of this coast to answer Anselmo’s question
for themselves; and (ii) to partner with them to develop practical by-catch
part to avoid catching sea turtles, and he became a spokesman for reducing
turtle by-catch. We partnered with other fishers in other towns along the
BCS coast and explored, through group discussions, the full costs of by-
catch such as time and resources lost to disentangling turtles and repairing
damaged nets. We found that once fishers appreciate the Pacific-wide
impact and true costs of their local by-catch, they usually strive to reduce and
eliminate that by-catch. The challenge, then, was to scale-up this success.
8.6.1 Conservation Mosaic
Based on this modest success, we began implementing a conservation mo-
saic strategy (Nichols 2003). The mosaic consists of three approaches to
achieving conservation, each informed by an established literature and dif-
fering degrees of proven effectiveness. The novelty of the mosaic lies in
strategic integration of these approaches: (i) building a conservation net-
work of fishers, students, teachers, activists, researchers, managers and
other coastal people; (ii) drawing on these partnerships to derive new
knowledge to develop locally practical solutions; and (iii) communication
of this knowledge in resonant and appropriate ways to avoid by-catch and
foster a sustainable ethic (Fig. 8.3).
Conservation Mosaic
Nichols 2003
Fig. 8.3. Schematic of the conservation mosaic. Overlap of the three spheres of
action reflects their integration
256 Martin A. Hall et al. Community Conservation Networks
Clearly, our team doesn’t have the time or resources to reach every last
fisher along the vast, isolated Baja California Sur coast. But the Grupo
Tortuguero, an emerging community conservation network, does (Pesenti
et al. 2005). Networks are decentralised, non-hierarchical, diverse and
resilient (Barabasi 2002). As such, they are ideal for addressing wide-
spread problems and creating the social change needed to address by-catch
issues in isolated fishing villages.
We build local conservation capacity by partnering with fishers like
Anselmo directly, by engaging local women’s and youth groups and by offer-
ing internships for local students. These conservation leaders are empowered
and connected through workshops, regional meetings and international con-
ferences. By interacting with colleagues from other towns, regions and coun-
tries, these leaders’ perspectives are broadened so that they appreciate the
global impact of local by-catch and learn ways to avoid it. This conservation
network serves as a new social fabric that fosters and facilitates a culture of
marine conservation. Among other awareness-raising initiatives to date, we
Fig. 8.4. Mizuno Ko
iro (centre), a S
anish s
anese biolo
ist, shares the
decline in nesting turtles he and his colleagues are witnessin
in Ja
an throu
school outreach and fishers’ workshops
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 257
have brought Spanish-speaking Japanese biologists to Baja California fishing
communities. When Japanese experts share their firsthand experience of de-
clines in nesting turtles, local leaders increasingly appreciate the importance of
protecting juvenile loggerheads in their waters (Fig. 8.4). These leaders then
become the local spokespeople for reducing by-catch, sharing the problem and
working towards solutions with their families, friends and neighbours. Co-constructing Knowledge
Ecological research on turtles has been used to reduce by-catch in numer-
ous fisheries through modification of both fishing gear (e.g., use of turtle
excluder devices in shrimp trawling; Crowder et al. 1994) and practices
(e.g., deeper setting of longlines; Polovina et al. 2003). Developing such
solutions requires detailed knowledge of the fisheries involved and the
ecology of affected species (Hall et al. 2000). Involving fishers in conser-
vation planning can result in better solutions that account for fishers’ needs
and incorporate their vast local knowledge while protecting imperiled
populations. Moreover, fishers’ investment in the conservation process can
increase subsequent adoption of conservation solutions (Nichols 2003;
Santora 2003). This last point is especially important along isolated coasts
such as the Baja California peninsula where enforcement is scarce and
adoption of conservation solutions is largely up to fishers.
Drawing on the relationships described above, we formed a task force of
local fishers, managers, community members and conservation biologists
to: (i) elucidate turtle diving and feeding behaviour; (ii) collect data on
stranding rates and mortalities; and (iii) experiment in modifying gillnet
design and deployment. Local fishers are thus learning firsthand both the
conservation process and the status of loggerhead turtles while helping to
generate new knowledge such as data on turtle diets, diving and movement
that are credible both locally and in scientific circles (Fig. 8.5).
Fig. 8.5. Alejandro Camacho and Victor de la Toba carr
a lo
erhead the
fitted with a satellite transmitter to their boat for release. Despite having acciden-
ht thousands of lo
erheads over his thirt
ear career, this was the firs
turtle Alejandro released alive
258 Martin A. Hall et al.
The task force is combining local ecological knowledge with these data
to develop practical solutions. For instance, tracking indicates that turtles
are utilising fine-scale foraging hotspots. Fishers are enthusiastic that they
might be able to reduce by-catch by avoiding these local hotspots. In this
way fishers’ personal participation in deriving new ecological data and
combining them with their local knowledge directly empowers them to
conserve sea turtles. Communication and Outreach
The emerging field of community-based social marketing guides our
communication and outreach initiatives (MacKenzie-Mohr and Smith
1999; Jacobson 1999). The social marketing approach consists of a four-
step process: (i) local attitudes and behaviours are assessed; (ii) a range of
media and events are evaluated for their effectiveness; (iii) outreach cam-
paigns are designed to inform and engage all fishers and their families; and
(iv) the effectiveness of campaign components are measured in terms of
changes in local attitudes and behaviours (Delgado 2005).
According to these precepts, our team designs and continually refines a
suite of outreach initiatives to convey our core message of empowerment:
specifically that BCS fishers and families hold the fate of the Pacific log-
gerhead in their hands. Informative workshops for fishers and curriculum
enrichment for schoolchildren convey the facts about by-catch behind the
message. To supplement these experiences across whole communities,
Grupo Tortuguero offers a range of locally resonant media including
comic books, children’s books, neighbourhood murals, informative bro-
chures and local radio programming. Public events such as regional festi-
vals, holiday parades, sports competitions and puppet shows are offered to
celebrate sea turtles as natural treasures to be cherished and protected.
Moreover, the network is working closely with ecotour operators to exp-
lore the feasibility of offshore turtle tours. Because loggerhead and olive
ridley turtles aggregate in certain areas at extraordinarily high abundance,
offshore trips could offer unprecedented experiences with foraging turtles
for ecotourists and alternatives to gillnetting for boatmen. In all of these
ways, fishers and their families are informed, engaged and empowered to
protect sea turtles and the ecosystems they inhabit.
8.6.2 Success to Date
As a result of their personal participation in this research and their recogni-
tion of the Pacific-wide impacts of their local by-catch, the fishers of
Puerto López Mateos, BCS declared the loggerhead high-use area off their
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 259
coast a ‘Fishermen’s Turtle Reserve’ in February 2006, thus self-limiting tur-
tle by-catch in this region. In this way fishers’ personal participation in deriv-
ing new ecological data from their local knowledge directly empowered them
to effect conservation change. Currently, the fishers of Puerto López Mateos
are seeking federal legislation to officially protect their reserve.
The novelty and strength of this approach has yielded a conservation
constituency among fishers and their families characterised by local pride,
empowerment and stewardship. Three years into this 5 year initiative, pre-
liminary results indicate decreased turtle by-catch and poaching, changes
in local attitude and an emerging ‘sea ethic’. Enforcement agents from
PROFEPA, SAGARPA and local councils are pursuing turtle violations
that in the past were ignored. Increasing numbers of fishers are self-
enforcing turtle protection amongst themselves and between and within their
cooperatives. Fishers, students and their families are celebrating sea turtles
through festivals, artwork and music. All of this translates into turtles saved
and steps toward the recovery of turtle populations. Finally, there are indica-
tions that this emerging ‘sea ethic,’ borne by people’s increasing interest in
turtle conservation, is leading them to manage fisheries such as lobster and
abalone more sustainably, an unexpected but welcome result.
8.6.3 Summary: Global Impacts of Small-scale Fishing
Small-scale fisheries such as the one described herein are ubiquitous to the
coastal waters of developing nations. Because small-scale fishers are often
unlicensed, their boats are usually unregistered and their catch and by-
catch are rarely quantified. This means that the impact of these fisheries
has gone virtually unnoticed. But as this case study shows, by-catch in
these fisheries may jeopardise both fishers’ livelihoods and endangered
species as much as, and perhaps more than, any other fishing sector.
Because regulation and enforcement of such fisheries is often lacking
and/or ineffective, conservation can therefore depend almost entirely on
small-scale fishers’ direct participation. Our collective challenge then is to
empower small-scale fishers around the world to conserve shared marine
resources. We suggest that our conservation model could be employed in
other regions to build grassroots constituencies among fishers and their
families characterised by local pride, empowerment and stewardship to
conserve marine species and their ecosystems.
260 Martin A. Hall et al.
8.7 Case Study 6 – Working with Hawaii-based Longline
Fishers to Abate Fisheries By-catch
(by Eric Gilman, Jim Cook and Sean Martin)
8.7.1 Introduction
Hawaii-based pelagic longline fisheries are faced with strong incentives to
reduce by-catches of sensitive species, including sea turtles and alba-
trosses. Here we highlight several approaches, some effective, others not,
to engage Hawaiian longliners in getting directly involved in trying to
abate fisheries by-catch.
In 2004, there were 125 active Hawaii-based longline tuna and sword-
fish vessels, which made 1,338 trips, setting about 32 million hooks. Table
8.1 summarises target species catch-per-unit-of-effort for the combined
Hawaii-based longline tuna and swordfish fisheries from 1999 to 2004. In
2004, the Hawaiian longline fisheries landed approximately 8,200 tonnes
and generated ex-vessel revenues estimated at $US 42.6 million with tuna
(Thunnus spp.) the dominant components of landings.
Table 8.1 Hawaii pelagic longline tuna and swordfish fisheries catch-per-unit-of-
effort (CPUE), number of fish per 1,000 hooks, 1999 – 2004 (U.S. National Ma-
rine Fisheries Service Pacific Islands Regional Office unpublished data, March
Year Tuna CPUE Sharks CPUE Billfish CPUE Other CPUE a
1999 9.21 4.59 3.9 4.8
2000 8.18 3.91 2.88 4.8
2001 8.64 2.1 1.61 4.21
2002 7.48 1.87 0.98 4.27
2003 6.33 2.32 1.77 4.58
2004 6.42 2.34 1.24 5.49
a mahimahi, moonfish, oilfish, pomfret, wahoo
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 261
Because of concerns over turtle interactions, the Hawaii-based longline
swordfish fishery was closed for over two years and is now subject to strict
management measures. Measures include prescribed use of large circle
hooks and fish bait, restricted annual effort, caps on turtle captures, 100%
onboard observer coverage, required possession and use of specialised tur-
tle de-hooking equipment and mandatory attendance of annual protected
species workshops by vessel operators and owners. If seasonal limits on
turtle interactions are reached, the fishery is closed for the year, and if a
threshold is exceeded, federal resource management agencies consult to
determine if additional restrictions on the fishery are warranted. Further-
more, the Hawaiian longline swordfish and tuna fleets are each authorised
to take annually, through injury or mortality, only one endangered short-
tailed albatross. If more than one short-tailed albatross is observed to inter-
act with gear of the Hawaiian longline tuna or swordfish fleet in a single
year, resource management agencies consult to determine if the fleet
should be required to employ additional seabird avoidance measures.
Tens of Laysan and black-footed albatrosses are now annually captured
by the fleet, down from thousands that were caught before the fleet was
required to employ seabird avoidance methods and restrictions on sword-
fish fishing effort. The fleet has not had any observed captures of short-
tailed albatrosses. Since June 2001, management authorities have required
the Hawaiian longline tuna and swordfish fisheries to use a number of
measures intended to reduce seabird by-catch, including weighted branch
lines, thawed and dyed bait, offal discards, and night setting in certain geo-
graphical areas for certain components of the fleet. Interactions between
the fleet and false killer whales is another issue that has received recent
attention. While there have been claims that this is causing population-
level effects, in reality, there is little understanding of the status and trends
of false killer whale populations nor of the consequence of interactions with
longline gear.
8.7.2 Litigation
Over the past five years, there have been numerous lawsuits filed against
the United States fishery management authority by environmental organi-
sations and the Hawaii Longline Association over the by-catch of sea tur-
tles, seabirds and whales by Hawaii-based longline fisheries. There have
been a number of positive results from the litigation, but overall we believe
that this has not been a wise long-term approach or efficient use of money,
time, or energy to address fisheries by-catch.
There was little attention paid to reduce by-catch of sea turtles in the
Hawaiian longline fisheries since the fisheries inception until the litigation
262 Martin A. Hall et al.
began in 2000 (which aimed to close the fisheries) brought about substan-
tial improvements involving changes in fishing gear, fishing practices and
methods to handle and release caught turtles. Turtle by-catch levels are
now much lower than in the past, and turtles are being released with less
injury and a greater chance of survival.
Another positive result of the litigation was increased cohesiveness of
Hawaii Longline Association members. The numerous ethnic groups com-
prising the fishery came together to counter efforts to eliminate their
source of livelihood and denigrate the reputation of the Hawaiian longline
fisheries. The industry is now in a much better position to represent their
However, even after substantial improvements were adopted by fishery
management authorities and the longline industry, the litigation continued,
as some environmental groups continued to pursue their goal of perma-
nently closing the fishery. The result was that the fishers became bitter,
were much less receptive to collaborating with outside groups, and lost the
drive to pursue voluntary initiatives to innovate new by-catch solutions,
which might also be exportable to longline fleets internationally. Other en-
vironmental groups, that had a goal of reducing fisheries by-catch and
reducing this source of turtle mortality by working with fishers, had a
much harder time gaining industry’s trust to work with them as a result of
the actions of the groups that were working to close the fishery. In fact, the
efforts to close the Hawaiian fleet may have actually increased turtle and
bird mortality: During a four-year closure of the Hawaii longline swordfish
fishery due to concerns over by-catch of sea turtles, swordfish supply to
the United States marketplace traditionally met by the Hawaiian fleet was
replaced by imports from foreign longline fleets, including fleets from
Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and South Africa, which have substantially
higher ratios of sea turtle captures to unit weight of swordfish catch and
less stringent or no measures to manage seabird by-catch. Groups that
wanted to pursue collaborative work with the Hawaiian longline fleet to
make the Hawaiian fleet a model fishery, and to export identified solutions
internationally, were frustrated by the misplaced efforts to close the
Hawaiian fisheries.
The Hawaii Longline Association spent over $US 1.6 million and innu-
merable staff hours over the past five years as a result of involvement in
this litigation. If this money, plus the funds spent by the United States
Government and environmental groups on the litigation, had instead been
used to conduct research to find effective and commercially viable solu-
tions in the Hawaiian fleet and abroad, this might have saved many more
turtles’ lives.
As we will describe next, collaborative, industry-led research has been
effective at reducing seabird by-catch in Hawaiian longline fisheries and
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 263
substantially more progress has been made to find effective and practical
solutions to seabird by-catch than turtle by-catch in Hawaiian pelagic
longline gear, without litigation as a motive, and at a cost an order of mag-
nitude lower than that spent on law suits.
8.7.3 Collaborative Research and Commercial Demonstrations
to Reduce By-catch
Between 1999 and 2003, the Hawaii Longline Association collaborated
with fishery management authorities and an environmental organisation to
conduct three experiments and commercial demonstrations of various
strategies (blue-dyed bait, towed buoy, offal discards, streamer line, under-
water setting chute, and side setting) to reduce seabird by-catch in longline
gear (Fig. 8.6). The United States Western Pacific Regional Fishery Man-
agement Council was the driving force behind the initial experiment, and
researcher Brian McNamara was an excellent choice, as he quickly gained
the trust of Hawaii longline fishers who worked with him to make the ini-
tial trials of various seabird avoidance methods a success. Two subsequent
cooperative experiments were initiated by Eric Gilman, a scientist initially
employed by an environmental organisation called the National Audubon
Society and later a new organisation called the Blue Ocean Institute, who
took the initiative to approach industry and fishery managers to work to-
gether to plan, fund and implement the project. Hawaii Longline Associa-
tion representatives Sean Martin, Jim Cook, and Scott Barrows; Western
Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council director Kitty Simonds;
and United States National Marine Fisheries Service scientist Dr. Chris
Boggs, joined the team to plan and implement the cooperative research
project. Nigel Brothers, a consultant recently retired from the Tasmania
Parks and Wildlife Service, Australia, joined the team and was key to secur-
ing the eventual success of these two latter experiments. Nigel’s extensive
experience working on longline vessels around the world, understanding of
albatross behaviour, approach to working with fishers, stubbornness and
perseverance to find effective and viable solutions to seabird by-catch,
greatly contributed to the success of these experiments.
From these experiments we determined that several seabird by-catch
avoidance methods are capable of nearly eliminating bird captures in
longline fisheries when effectively employed. Our industry-led experi-
ments focused on identifying the most effective seabird by-catch abate-
ment methods that are also economically viable and practical. Fishery
management authorities recently amended regulations on measures for the
Hawaii longline fleet to reduce seabird by-catch based on results from this
most recent research.
264 Martin A. Hall et al.
Fig. 8.6. Industry lead research on an underwater setting chute (left panel) and
side setting (right panel), two promising techniques to reduce seabird by-catch, in
the Hawaiian pelagic longline fisheries
Longline fishers are some of the most qualified people to develop and
improve seabird by-catch mitigation techniques. They have a large reposi-
tory of knowledge and information related to by-catch, which can be
tapped to contribute to finding effective and practical solutions. This has
been demonstrated by the successful research initiatives in Hawaii and
elsewhere. Mitigation methods that effectively avoid seabirds, do not
reduce fishing efficiency, or better yet, increase fishing efficiency and pro-
vide operational benefits, have the highest chance of being accepted by
industry. The longline association became an active participant to address
seabird by-catch problems by instituting and participating in research and
commercial demonstrations and supporting adoption of regulations based
closures were imposed on the fleet. This bottom-up approach fostered a
sense of industry ownership for effective seabird mitigation methods, and
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 265
on the best available science before restrictions, embargoes and possible
resulted in high compliance with the resulting rules mandating the use of
seabird avoidance methods. By being directly involved in the development
and testing of seabird avoidance methods, Hawaii longline fishers developed
a sense of ownership for these tools and now support their required use.
8.7.4 Economic Viability, Practicality and Enforceability
Considerations in Research Designs
The experiments on techniques to reduce seabird by-catch in the Hawaii-
based longline fisheries provide an example of how research can be designed
to collect information on economic viability, practicality and enforceabil-
ity. Analysing differences in the effects of alternative seabird avoidance
methods on bait retention, hook setting rates and catch-per-unit-of-effort of
targeted fish; operational benefits and costs; time and money to adopt and
employ; and enforceability is of great interest to industry, fishery man-
agement authorities and other stakeholders.
Given the political context and management frameworks of the majority
of the world’s longline fisheries, there is a need to focus on the commer-
cial viability of by-catch reduction methods in order to catalyse changes in
fishing methods and gear and regulatory measures that will abate longline
by-catch. To resolve global fisheries by-catch problems, there is a need to
identify and institute the broad use of methods that not only have the
capacity to minimise by-catch of sensitive species, but which are also prac-
tical and convenient and provide crew with incentives to employ them con-
sistently and effectively. That is, it is critical to account for economic and
social values of longline fisheries to achieve changes that abate by-catch.
For instance, because the loss of bait to seabirds and concomitant reduc-
tions in the catch of fish can be significant, the use of seabird avoidance
measures is expected to lead to cost savings for longline fisheries. How-
ever, most longline fleets do not employ effective seabird avoidance meth-
ods despite the availability of effective methods that also increase fishing
efficiency (Brothers et al. 1999a; Gilman 2001; FAO 2003). Reasons for
this may be: (i) low industry awareness of the availability, effectiveness
and practicality of these methods; (ii) few national fishery management
authorities manage interactions between seabirds and longline vessels or
require employment of effective seabird avoidance methods (Brothers
et al. 1999a; BirdLife International 2003; FAO 2003; Gilman and Freifeld
2003); and (iii) lack of a sufficiently strong economic incentive for indus-
try to change long-standing fishing practices. Recognising that this context
also applies to many global commercial marine fisheries, maximising
industry’s sense of ownership for using effective by-catch avoidance
measures and providing industry with incentives for voluntary compliance
266 Martin A. Hall et al.
are needed. Commercial fishing industries respond best to economic incen-
tives and disincentives (Gilman et al. 2002). By-catch mitigation methods
that increase fishing efficiency and have operational benefits have the best
chance of being accepted by industry. Eco-labeling and certification pro-
grams can also provide industry with strong market-based and social
incentives to meet criteria to be certified as a sustainable fishery, including
the employment of effective by-catch reduction methods, but requires ade-
quate marketing of the label to make it economically viable for industry to
participate (Gilman et al. 2002). Additionally, if regulations requiring the
use of by-catch avoidance methods are effectively enforced and carry suf-
ficient economic consequences for noncompliance, broad industry compli-
ance can be achieved.
8.7.5 Outreach, Capacity-building and Disseminating
the Lessons Learnt
The Hawaii longline association, in partnership with fishery management
authorities and environmental conservation groups, has produced a number
of educational materials on methods to abate fisheries by-catch. These
include a poster (Fig. 8.7) and pamphlet on side setting to reduce seabird
by-catch, a poster on best practices to handle and release incidentally
caught seabirds in longline gear and methods to reduce seabird capture,
and a booklet on methods to reduce sea turtle by-catch in pelagic longline
gear and practices to handle and release captured turtles. The Hawaii
Longline Association is also able to disseminate lessons learnt from experi-
ments and commercial demonstrations and learn from by-catch research in
other fisheries through participation in, and providing financial support for,
conferences such as the International Fishers Forum series.
The Hawaii Longline Association is working with management
authorities and the Blue Ocean Institute to implement a dockside tech-
nical assistance program for longline vessels to convert deck designs
from the conventional setting position from the stern, to the side of the
vessel to reduce seabird by-catch. Deck conversion requires considering
the deck position for setting, selection of main line shooter hinges and
hydraulics, line pullers, motor and mounting plate design for starboard
setting, and the design, construction and installation of a bird curtain.
Technical assistance is also available to captains and crew on best fishing
practices for setting from the new position, including timing for clipping
branch lines to the main line and practices for throwing baited hooks.
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 267
Fig. 8.7. Educational poster on the method and benefits of side setting, which has
been shown to minimise seabird by-catch in Hawaiian pelagic longline gear
268 Martin A. Hall et al.
These education and outreach programs are an investment to bring about
changes in behaviour and attitudes by having an industry that is better
informed of prescribed fisheries by-catch avoidance methods, and, in some
cases, operational benefits from employing these techniques. Showcasing
the results of industry-led research to abate fisheries by-catch also has the
benefit of broadly disseminating the results so that the effective methodol-
ogy can be replicated in other fleets worldwide and ineffective components
can be improved.
8.7.6 One Fleet Pilot Project
The Hawaii Longline Association worked with an environmental organisa-
tion and fishery management authorities to examine the state of knowledge
of employing fleet communication programs to reduce fisheries by-catch,
and is now planning to institute a pilot program to reduce by-catch of sea
turtles and albatrosses. Instituting a fleet communication system to report
near real-time observations of by-catch hotspots enables a commercial
fishery to operate as a coordinated ‘One Fleet’ to substantially reduce
fleet-wide capture of protected by-catch species, including fish, seabirds,
sea turtles and marine mammals. This benefits the by-catch species, reduces
waste, can provide economic benefits to industry by reducing the risk of
exceeding government-established seasonal by-catch thresholds, and can
avoid possible future declines in target species catch resulting from by-
It is not yet known how likely it is that the Hawaii longline swordfish
and tuna fleets will annually exceed seasonal sea turtle by-catch limits.
This makes it difficult to assess if economic benefits from instituting a
‘One Fleet’ protocol, resulting from enabling the fleet to operate for a
longer time period, will outweigh the economic costs from managing the
fleet communication program. Furthermore, it may not be possible to
determine definitively the effect of instituting the fleet communication
program on sea turtle and seabird by-catch rates, due to the lack of a suit-
able control for comparison. Historical by-catch rates would not provide a
suitable comparison because the fleet is now using different methods
designed to minimise seabird and sea turtle by-catch. Furthermore, com-
parison of by-catch rates from different time periods can be confounded by
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 269
catch of juvenile and undersized individuals. We analysed case-studies of
fleet communication programs in three United States fisheries; the North
ery; and the Alaska demersal longline fishery. Available information from
these case-studies supports the inference that they have substantially re-
duced fisheries by-catch and provided large economic benefits that out-
weigh relatively nominal operational costs.
Atlantic longline swordfish fishery; the North Pacific and Alaska trawl fish-
numerous variables, including weather, seabird and turtle behaviour, fish-
ing practices, location of fishing grounds and consistency in observer
methods. However, if some of the Hawaii longline vessels opted not to
participate in the fleet communication program, a comparison of by-catch
rates of participating and non-participating vessels could provide an under-
standing of the effect on by-catch rates from this single factor, assuming
that there are no other substantial differences between the two categories
of vessels. This was possible for the Alaska demersal longline fisheries
fleet communication program. Non-monetary benefits to the Hawaii
longline industry from instituting a ‘One Fleet’ program to reduce turtle
and bird by-catch could be substantial, such as from positive media cover-
age and other values not described by established financial indicators.
8.7.7 Conclusions
In Hawaii and elsewhere, we have seen that fishers are some of the most
qualified people to develop and improve by-catch avoidance strategies.
Fishers have a large repository of knowledge and information related to
by-catch, which can be tapped to contribute to finding effective and practi-
cal solutions. Mitigation methods that effectively avoid by-catch, do not
reduce fishing efficiency, or better yet, increase fishing efficiency and pro-
vide operational benefits, have the greatest chance of being accepted by
industry. Fishers and fishery associations need to become active partici-
pants to address by-catch problems by being involved in research and
commercial demonstrations, implementing best practices, and supporting
adoption of regulations based on the best available science before restric-
tions, embargos and possible closures are imposed on them.
Most countries have a low degree of political will to address fisheries
by-catch problems and, as is the case in Hawaii, have scarce resources for
enforcement of by-catch management measures. Few national fishery
management authorities have frameworks to manage interactions between
sensitive by-catch species and fishing vessels and many do not require
employment of effective by-catch avoidance methods. A bottom-up approach
that fosters a sense of industry ownership for effective by-catch mitigation
methods, and concomitant compliance with requirements for using by-
catch avoidance methods are needed in these countries.
While the effectiveness of this approach to address fisheries by-catch is
broadly recognised, there has been far too little funding allocated for coop-
erative research and commercial demonstrations to find solutions to sea
turtle, seabird and other by-catch problems in longline gear. In the United
States, this may be a result of the government’s fear of being sued if they
propose to conduct or fund experiments in United States fisheries that
270 Martin A. Hall et al.
result in injury to protected resources, even though these experiments will
potentially result in substantial reductions in mortality of these species
when best practices are identified and spread to multiple fisheries. Some
United States fishery management authorities are funding experiments to
test technical measures to reduce sea turtle by-catch in longline fisheries
abroad, in part, to avoid problems with trying to receive permits and risk
being sued by conducting the research in domestic fisheries. But too little
8.8 Case Study 7 – Seabird By-catch Mitigation:
The Southern Ocean (CCAMLR) Experience
(by J.P. Croxall, K. Rivera and C.A. Moreno)
8.8.1 The Problem
Decreases in albatross populations at sub-Antarctic islands became evident
in the mid-1980s, particularly at South Georgia and Iles Crozet where the
longest sets of annual population counts were derived (Croxall et al. 1990,
Jouventin and Weimerskirch 1990, Prince et al. 1994) (Fig. 8.8). Three
sets of observations and data linked these population declines to incidental
mortality associated with longline fisheries and thus brought the issue to
widespread attention, including that of fishery management organisations:
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 271
research is being supported, there is insufficient coordination resulting in
duplicative efforts and solutions found abroad may not be relevant to do-
mestic fisheries. The amount of research being conducted is too small, re-
search needs to occur in individual fisheries to find solutions that we can
have confidence will work in our fisheries, and the agencies designing
the experiments need to do more to tap into fishers’ knowledge to identify
new promising strategies.
8.7.8 Acknowledgements
The impetus for preparing this case-study came from insights derived dur-
ing three years of research on methods to reduce seabird by-catch in
Hawaii pelagic longline fisheries. We are grateful for input from Jerry
Ray, Barry Woods, George Ching, Kelly Malakai, and Beverly Ray, cap-
tain and crew of the F.V. Katy Mary, Nigel Brothers, a consultant from
Australia, Dr. Chris Boggs and Donald Kobayashi of NOAA Fisheries, and
Kitty Simonds and Paul Dalzell of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery
Management Council.
272 Martin A. Hall et al.
1. Analysis (in 1989) of the 81 recoveries (from 20,000 banded) of
wandering albatrosses (Diomedea exulans) from South Georgia, indi-
cated that fisheries, particularly those using longline gear, were the
main cause of this mortality (Croxall and Prince 1990).
2. Direct estimates (in 1988) of albatross by-catch rates on vessels using
longlines to catch southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyi) in the
Tasman Sea (Brothers 1991), indicated that, even with rates of < 0.5
birds per thousand hooks, the total annual albatross by-catch from
tuna longline fishing could easily exceed 40,000.
Fig. 8.8. Changes in population size of albatrosses in study colonies at Bird Island,
South Georgia (BAS unpublished data), (A) wandering albatross (whole island
counts), (B) grey-headed albatross (Colony E) and (C) black-browed albatross
(Colony H)
8.8.2 The Context
The commercial harvesting of Antarctic marine living resources had fol-
lowed a familiar pattern of prospecting, exploitation and over-exploitation.
By the late 1970s, just two centuries after the discovery of the region’s
resources, most, if not all, populations of Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus
gazelle), several species of great whale and marbled rock cod Notothenia
rossii were commercially unviable and nearly biologically extinct. Fisher-
ies were switching to Antarctic icefish (Champsocephalus gunnari)
(already over-exploited by 1980) and Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba).
There was an overriding fear that not only would recently protected whale
populations fail to recover, but that other species dependent on krill and its
associated food chain would be affected by its harvesting.
Therefore, in 1977, the contracting parties to the Antarctic Treaty, who
had been successful in depoliticising governance and promoting scientific
collaboration in respect of the Antarctic Continent, started to negotiate an
international convention, primarily to prevent over-exploitation of marine
resources, especially Antarctic krill. The resulting CCAMLR Convention,
signed in 1980 and in force since 1982, applies to the whole Southern
Ocean south of the Antarctic Polar Front – an area of 32 million km2 (see
Fig. 8.9). The marine living resources involved in the Convention include
all species in the Convention Area other than whales and seals, for which
there were existing Conventions. The CCAMLR Convention was the first
in the marine environment to try to combine the requirements of sustain-
able harvesting with adequate protection for non-target species potentially
affected by harvesting. In fact, in three of its fundamental principles, it was
foreshadowing, by at least a decade, the widespread adoption of the
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 273
longlines around South Georgia, suggested that over 3500 petrels
(including more than 1000 albatrosses) could be killed annually in
this fishery in this region (Dalziell and de Poorter 1993). This longline
fishery started in 1989.
In 1991 the above observations were brought to the attention of the
Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources
(CCAMLR), the management authority responsible for regulating fishing
in the Southern Ocean and within whose boundaries many of the most af-
fected albatross populations breed (e.g., at South Georgia, Iles Crozet,
Kerguelen and Prince Edward Islands).
3. Direct observations (1991) of albatross and petrel by-catch on vessels
fishing for Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) using
Fig. 8.9. Map of the CCAMLR Convention Area, showing its subdivision into sta-
tistical areas and the assessment of each of these for potential risk of interaction
between seabirds, especially albatrosses, and longline fisheries. Key: 1: low; 2:
medium to low; 3: average; 4: average to low; 5: high. Shaded areas represent
seabed areas of depth between 500 and 1800 m, the principal fishing grounds for
toothfish (source: CCAMLR 2004, Fig. 7.3)
not under the jurisdiction of CCAMLR. Nevertheless, by allowing longline
fishing in the knowledge that potentially high levels of albatross by-catch
were likely, CCAMLR was clearly not acting in the precautionary manner
prescribed under its Convention.
274 Martin A. Hall et al.
1. to balance the needs of sustainable harvesting with those of con-
servation; and
2. to provide protection for dependent and related species, coupled
with the restoration of depleted stocks and populations;
3. to avoid changes that are potentially irreversible within two to
three decades.
In 1991 the situation for CCAMLR was that, given the population
dynamics of albatrosses, their population decreases were of a magnitude
potentially irreversible within two to three decades. However, the main
cause of these changes likely reflected events in adjacent waters that were
ecosystem-based approaches to the
management of marine systems. Thus, Article II of the CCAMLR Conven-
tion contains the requirements:
precautionary principle and the need for
Table 8.2 Milestones in the development of effective mitigation measures to pre-
vent seabird by-catch in longline fisheries in the CCAMLR Convention Area
1. 1982 CCAMLR Convention comes into force.
2. 1986 Reports of incidental mortality required.
3. 1989 Longline fishing for Patagonian toothfish starts (around South
Georgia); incidental mortality becomes a CCAMLR agenda item.
4. 1990 First unofficial report of seabird by-catch; reporting forms on inci-
dental mortality data and formats agreed as part of a Conservation
5. 1991 First direct observations of seabird by-catch; first Conservation
Measure on mitigation of incidental mortality of seabirds.
6. 1993 Working Group on Incidental Mortality Associated with Longline
Fishing established (first meeting in 1994).
7. 1993 International scientific observers required on all (four) vessels
longline fishing in the South Georgia area.
8. 1994 First outreach materials to fishers and fishery managers and ap-
proaches to other RFMOs.
9. 1995 Closed season for longline fishing for toothfish (1 August to end
February) to assist reducing incidental mortality of seabirds.
10. 1996 First adequate (though incomplete) scientific data (from interna-
tional scientific observers) on seabird by-catch (from 3 of 16 ves-
sels fishing).
11. 1997 Highest estimated seabird by-catch (> 6000 birds) in regulated
12. 1997 First comprehensive seabird by-catch risk assessment for different
parts of the Convention Area.
13. 1997 Closed fishing season extended by 1 month (to 1 April), to protect
seabirds until improved compliance with Conservation Measures.
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 275
8.8.3 Tackling the Problem
As a result of the above situation, CCAMLR, through the representatives
of its 24 member states, at meetings of its Working Group on Fish Stock
Assessment, Scientific Committee and Commission started the process of
developing mechanisms for regulating by-catch in longline fisheries (in-
cluding initially acquiring data and information to enable it to do this). A
timetable indicating the evolution and development of this process is set
out in Table 8.2.
Lest progress be thought to be exceptionally slow, it should be noted, first,
that measures legally binding on all members of CCAMLR (e.g., as conserva-
tion measures) must be adopted by consensus. Second, once sufficient data
14. 1998 Closed fishing season extended by two weeks (to 15 April).
15. 1999 First (autoline) vessels achieve full compliance with all mitigation
measures for seabird by-catch (Conservation Measure 29).
Table 8.2 (cont.)
22. 2004 Seabird by-catch levels in French EEZ reduced by 75% following
implementation of CCAMLR recommendations.
23. 2004 Unified system (for whole Convention Area) of mitigation re-
quirements in relation to seabird by-catch risk.
were obtained to assess the magnitude of the problem, steady progress was
made. Some of the main positive outcomes of the process set out in Table 8.2
are summarised below.
1. By-catch reduced: Once a full range of mitigation measures (Table
8.3), including a closed season, were imposed and monitored effec-
tively, seabird by-catch numbers and rates at South Georgia (statisti-
cal subarea 48.3; see Fig. 8.8) were reduced ten-fold within a single
year (Table 8.4).
Table 8.3 Principle types of mitigation measures implemented by CCAMLR.
Action Rationale
No offal discharge Avoid attracting birds
Streamer lines Keep birds away from sinking longline
Weighted lines Sink lines too fast for birds to access
Night setting Albatrosses are diurnal
Closed seasons Protect birds when breeding
Scientific observers on every vessel
276 Martin A. Hall et al.
16. 1999 Closed fishing season extended to 1 May to protect seabirds until
full compliance with relevant Conservation Measures.
17. 2001 First Spanish-system longline vessel achieves full compliance with
all relevant mitigation measures (Conservation Measure 29).
18. 2002 First exemptions to night setting requirements (subject to seabird
by-catch limit) for areas of lower risk for seabird by-catch.
19. 2003 Seabird by-catch in regulated fishery (except French EEZ) at re-
cord low (15 birds).
20. 2003 Half of vessels longline fishing comply with relevant mitigation
measures for seabird by-catch (Conservation Measure 25-02 which
replaced CM 29).
21. 2003 Important revision of mitigation measure requirements (Conserva-
tion Measure 25-02), incorporating use of integrated weight
longline; additional exemptions agreed, subject to seabird by-catch
level limits.
1. Improvements to mitigation: Improved ability at using and managing
the technical mitigation methods (streamer lines, line weighting, offal
discharge) soon produced further by-catch reduction at South Georgia
by ten-fold again over the next 2 years – with rates stabilising thereaf-
Reductions were slower to achieve in the Indian Ocean (where
closed seasons were not implemented) but, ultimately, similar pro-
portionate reductions were achieved in the areas around the Prince
Edward Islands (part of statistical subareas 58.6 and 58.7; see Fig.
8.9). Years of minor increases in by-catches (e.g., 2004) could be
clearly associated with a drop in the standard of implementation of
the technical mitigation measures (CCAMLR 2004).
Even the recent massive by-catches of white-chinned petrels Pro-
cellaria aequinoctialis (about 25,000 birds over years 2002 and 2003
combined) in French-managed fisheries in the Indian Ocean proved
susceptible to implementation of the technical mitigation measures
used elsewhere, reducing by-catch by 75% in one season (2004) (Fig.
8.10). Clearly streamer lines, line weighting and associated best prac-
tice with discharge of offal can produce major improvements in
by-catch quite independently of those achieved by closing areas to
fishing during the breeding season of seabirds.
2. Use of the precautionary approach – Seabird by-catch limits: Man-
agement of seabird by-catch in CCAMLR’s new and exploratory
fisheries (i.e., starting longline fishing in a new statistical subarea or
division) has been exemplary in terms of adopting a precautionary
approach, particularly in defining by-catch risk levels and attendant
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 277
Table 8.4 Total estimated seabird by-catch and by-catch rate (birds per thousand
hooks) in longline fisheries for toothfish Dissostichus spp. in the CCAMLR Con-
vention Area (source: CCAMLR 2004).
Subarea Year
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
South Georgia (Subarea 48.3)
Estimated by-catch 5755 640 210 21 30 27 8 18
By-catch rate 0.23 0.032 0.013 0.002 0.002 0.0015 0.00003 0.001
ndian Ocean (
ubarea 58.6, 58.7)
Estimated by-catch 834 528 156 516 199 0 7 39
By-catch rate 0.52 0.194 0.034 0.046 0.018 0 0.003 0.025
oss Sea (
ubarea 88.1, 88.2)
Estimated by-catch - 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
By-catch rate - 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0001
area-specific mitigation requirements and management actions (see
CCAMLR 2004, Table 7.17). So far all regulations have been strictly
observed with no, or almost no, seabird by-catch whatsoever. Fur-
thermore, regulated relaxation of mitigation requirements (subject to
seabird by-catch limits) have also been entirely successful at avoiding
3. Adaptive management: Mechanisms for the stepwise removal of
some mitigation requirements (e.g., closed seasons), consequent on
complete compliance with the necessary mitigation measures have
been agreed and implementation has either commenced and/or the
preconditions met. However, greater relaxation of these regulations
(e.g., allowing longline fisheries to operate with technical measures
alone in the highest risk by-catch areas during the main seabird breed-
ing season), may prove to be quite challenging, especially for avoiding
by-catch of white-chinned petrels and for operations involving the
Spanish system of longline fishing.
4. Easier methods for fishers: Development of new methods which are
easier and more effective for fishers to use (e.g., longlines with inte-
grated weight) are enabling autoline vessels to fish with greater free-
dom and efficiency than hitherto.
8.8.4 Drivers and Obstacles
Here we summarise those factors which, in our opinion, had the greatest
positive or negative effects on the speed of progress and success of out-
comes in this case study. Several of them may still be powerful influences
on future developments.
278 Martin A. Hall et al.
Fig. 8.10. Incidental mortality of white-chinned petrels in controlled experiments
using unweighted (UW) and integrated weight longlines (IW) (source: Robertson
et al. 2006)
5. Relative geographical restriction of the toothfish fishery, which
simplified management especially by coastal states around sub-
Antarctic islands.
6. Vessel compliance with by-catch reduction measures and reporting
requirements are fishery permit conditions.
7. Increasing recognition of the CCAMLR process and recommenda-
tions as ‘role models’ leading to the uptake of CCAMLR-style sea-
bird avoidance measures in other parts of the world. Negative Influences
1. Traditional commercial and operational secrecy at the start of a new
2. Remoteness of the region and resulting difficulty of policing in
respect of Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing.
3. The Spanish system of longlining made simplifying mitigation
measures (such as integrated weighting for autoliners) very difficult.
4. Lack of ability to test scientifically the contribution that each of the
different mitigation measures makes to overall by-catch reduction.
Consequent difficulty in proposing best practice combinations for
new areas, circumstances, vessels, etc.
5. Closed seasons, although effective at reducing local by-catch rates,
risk displacing fishing to other areas where management and mitiga-
tion may be much less effective.
8.8.5 Next Steps
The main challenges for CCAMLR within its Convention Area relate to:
(i) further reducing seabird by-catch in the French Economic Exclus-
ing and its attendant by-catch.ion Zone, and (ii) eliminating IUU fish
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 279 Positive Influences
1. Placement of independent scientific observers on vessels.
2. Creation of a formal working group which comprised all stakeholder
constituencies – fishers, fishery managers, fishery scientists, techni-
cal experts, seabird biologists – to analyse and assess data and to
provide advice. In CCAMLR, this was the working group on Inci-
dental Mortality Associated with Fishing (IMAF)).
3. Collaborative research into practical solutions involving fishing
companies and scientists and supported by governments.
4. High value of fishery so that the initial introduction of mitigation
measures were neither disproportionately costly nor powerful disin-
centives to continue to participate in the fishery.
assist these RFMOs share and exchange information and assist with
the transfer and uptake of the effective ways that CCAMLR has
reduced seabird by-catch.
3. Work with relevant CCAMLR members to ensure that their vessels
operating in high seas areas adjacent to the Convention Area are
employing mitigation measures as effective as those required within
the Convention Area.
4. Promote and assist the development of mitigation methods that
operate effectively without comprehensive reporting, monitoring
and compliance, such as further development and implementation
of underwater setting devices and integrated line weighting.
5. For states into whose waters CCAMLR seabirds migrate (especially
Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand and South Africa), ensure
that domestic legislation with respect to mitigation is as effective as
that required by CCAMLR.
6. Work with relevant CCAMLR members to ensure that successful
mitigation by their vessels of seabird by-catch in the CCAMLR
area is complemented by equally successful mitigation by these
and other vessels in their domestic fisheries (and, indeed, wherever
their vessels participate in fisheries where there are risks of seabird
7. Develop improvements to the Spanish system of longline fishing,
particularly to enable simplification of the implementation of miti-
gation measures.
9. Continue close monitoring of CCAMLR fisheries to ensure full
compliance with conservation measures and prevent increases in by-
catch (as seen in 2004).
10. Support and promote initiatives by industry, governments, and
RFMOs to combat IUU.
280 Martin A. Hall et al.
Reduce by-catch in appropriate parts of the French EEZ to levels
comparable to the rest of the Convention Area.
1. Collaborate with adjacent Regional Fishery Management Organisations
(RFMOs), especially IOTC, ICCAT, CCSBT and the new Indian
Ocean RFMOs, to ensure that seabird by-catch (especially of birds
breeding in the Convention Area) is eliminated or minimised by the use
of a suite of measures similar to those employed by CCAMLR.
2. Assist the development by such RFMOs of expert groups to advise
on collection and analysis of by-catch data and on potential practical
solutions to by-catch problems. Obtaining advice from, or participa-
tion of, experts with experience of the CCAMLR IMAF group could
However, now most by-catch of Convention Area seabirds occurs in adja-
cent regions. In this regard, CCAMLR needs to:
8.9 Summary and Conclusions
(by Stephen J. Hall)
The stories told in the preceding case-studies in this chapter describe how
changes in the behaviour of individuals and institutions have occurred in
the face of various by-catch issues. It also describes how these changes
have delivered conservation benefits that contributed to the long-term sus-
tainability of fisheries. Each story is unique, and shows with varying
degrees of emphasis some of the key factors that have led to successful
outcomes. Behind this uniqueness, however, there are common threads
that point to general lessons about how to get fishers to change their
behaviour. The purpose of this section of this chapter is to draw those
threads together.
Before drawing lessons about how change occurs among fishers and
how to support it, it is worth considering how fishing differs from other
industries. Its distinctiveness comes, not only from the technical peculiari-
ties of fishing, but also from the socio-economic contexts in which fishing
occurs. The public’s empathy with some by-catch species, property and
access rights regimes and the cultural perspectives associated with fishing
are all important. These and other issues combine to make fishing different
from other industries. While admitting these differences, however, there is
a strong case for arguing that, when thinking about how change occurs, it
is the similarities between these stories and those elsewhere that are most
important. It is from those similarities that we can draw general lessons.
In drawing general lessons about change among fishers, however, we
must also recognise the huge volume of literature on change management
that fills the shelves of business school libraries and book shops. This lit-
erature provides a plethora of frameworks and models for describing and
understanding change, each of which has strengths and weaknesses. To
these I add my own, synthesised from multiple sources, which treats
change from the perspective of those whose behaviour one is seeking to in-
fluence. Given this huge literature on change management, one could view
anything newly written as merely packaging ‘old wine in new bottles’.
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 281
8.8.6 Acknowledgements
We thank all our colleagues in the CCAMLR Working Group on Inciden-
tal Mortality Associated with Fishing for their exemplary collaboration
over the last decade. We thank the many other individuals who have facili-
tated scientific and management research and action on this topic, particu-
larly in the Southern Ocean.
8.9.1 A Change Model
Drawing on the work of Kotter (1990), Senge (1990) and many others, the
model for change developed here is built around three concepts. (i) where
individuals, communities or institutions are on a continuum that reflects
readiness for change; (ii) the leadership actions needed to cause change at
each point on the continuum; and (iii) the drivers that deliver those leader-
ship actions within the context of fisheries (Fig. 8.11).
In essence, the model argues that to get fishers to move from denial to
commitment, one must first apply pressure for change by providing infor-
mation. One must then find champions for change among fishers to help
move the industry through the phase of resistance to one of exploration in
which innovation and learning among fishers predominates. Accepted so-
lutions developed during the innovation and learning period then become
widely adopted through peer pressure mechanisms. These then take indi-
viduals beyond the exploration phase to commitment so that improved ap-
proaches become accepted practice.
Below I examine the validity of this model using the stories presented in
this chapter.
Pressure for change
Peer Pressure
Provide information
Listen / empathize,
Explain / modify
Direct, Coach
Let go / delegate
Fig. 8.11. A change model
282 Martin A. Hall et al.
I would argue, however, that context matters. Given the peculiarities of the fish-
ing sector noted above, I hope that placing the key features of the case-studies
in this chapter into a common framework will be informative and useful. Applying Pressure and Finding Champions
Pressure for change can, of course, come from various sources, but a
common thread in many of the stories told here is how public opinion,
framed by media attention, has catalysed action by fishers. The leadership
action needed during the early phase of change is to provide information
that will alter opinions – and no agent does this better than the popular
press. Adverse media attention and the consequent socio-political pressure
have been powerful stimuli for action. The gory videos of dolphin deaths
in the tuna seines (Case-study 1) and the media attention to the death of
312 white chinned petrels by an auto-liner in New Zealand (Case-study 4)
are good examples. Before fishers will start acting, someone usually needs
to make a fuss.
But, although the press have proved important, it would be wrong to
suggest that information provided by others does not also play a role. This
role can be especially important when fishers’ interpretation of personal
experiences run contrary to the messages they are hearing elsewhere. An
excellent example of this comes from Peckham et al. (Case-study 5) where
fishers’ perceptions from high turtle catches worked against the message
that they were endangering populations. Here patient explanation about
how turtles aggregate in fishing areas and information about the bigger
picture had an important role to play in persuading fishers of the need for
change. Combining this with information on individual turtle movements
from satellite tracking, which no doubt created an emotional connection
between fishers and the turtles, was especially powerful. But even when
media attention is high, or when other information channels are effective, it
almost always needs the initiative of key individuals to get fishers moving.
Champions usually need to emerge early in the story, even when threats
to the fishery from litigation or market forces are clear. One important role
that these individuals seem to play is in helping others understand that
‘perception is often reality’. It often takes an insider to persuade others
that, even if the media has distorted an issue, it is the public and govern-
ment’s perception of the truth that will affect their business. Although the
most obvious examples of such champions in the case-studies tend to be men,
one should not forget the role played by women. In their role as marketers
of fish, they are often more aware of how markets can change with exter-
nal pressure and can play a key influencing role (see Case-study 2).
As our model implies, finding champions is not only important for per-
suading others about the need for change. We also need them to lead the
way in finding solutions. Thomas and Molloy (Case-study 4) are most
clear on this matter: ‘Picking respected and committed fishers as role-
models to champion behaviour change is a cornerstone of the Southern
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 283
Seabird Solutions approach’. With such champions on-board the shift to a
learning-and-innovation-cycle can take place. Fostering Innovation and Learning
A fishing master developed tori poles to reduce seabird by-catch in the
Japanese long-line fishery, as early as 1988. Tuna fishers devised new
manoeuvres to avoid catching dolphins. Hawaiian long-liners helped refine
hook technologies to reduce turtle capture. If there is one lesson above all
others that comes from the chapters presented here, it is that we need to
involve fishers in solving the technical problems of reducing by-catch.
This is important for two reasons: first, technical solutions will get better
faster; and second, engaging fishers in testing and refining innovations
helps these innovations gain acceptance.
While accepting the value of developing a learning and innovation cycle
within the fishery is non-controversial (see Hall and Mainprize 2004, for
review), the best way to achieve it is unclear. In many respects, the best
approach will depend on the particular setting. However, one general les-
son is that researchers and extension workers often have a key catalytic
role to play by promoting knowledge-sharing and stimulating learning and
innovation. Engaging fishers in this cycle is especially important in remote
areas where there is limited enforcement capacity and adopting new
approaches rests solely in the hands of fishers (Peckham et al., Case-
study 5).
One good example of the catalytic role played by extension agents is
the ‘skipper exchange program’ described by Thomas and Molloy (Case-
study 4). This approach provides an excellent vehicle, not only for shar-
ing ideas and best-practice solutions, but also for recognising and re-
warding champions. A testament to its power is that one visit from a
New Zealand skipper led to the wholesale adoption of new weighted
longlines by the Reunion fleet in Chile. Other models for sharing knowl-
edge and stimulating innovation abound.
While the virtues of the learning and innovation cycle are clear, it is also
important to recognise the costs of its absence. The crewing of Japanese
vessels with foreign nationals illustrate this point (Nakano and Clarke,
Case-study 3). Because foreigners are not seen as apprentices, the Japanese
fishers do not pass on skills in by-catch mitigation. As a result, a culture of
innovation does not develop. Strong social hierarchies within Japanese
fishing communities also appear to inhibit both acceptance of the need for
change and the learning and innovation needed to find solutions.
284 Martin A. Hall et al. From Peer Pressure to Accepted Practice
As a cycle of learning and innovation develops and the number of fish-
ers involved increases, it is reasonable to suppose that a sense of mutual
accountability for improving should also develop. Recognition of the need
for such accountability often seems to form early in the change process
with the realisation that the poor performance of a few boats could affect
everyone. Accepting such accountability usually appears much later, how-
ever, when there is general buy-in by the majority, and instruments are in
place to monitor and report individual performance.
Such monitoring stimulates two change drivers, both of which amount
to a form of peer pressure. The first is that it helps create internal pressures
in competitive individuals who want to improve to be better than their
peers. The key to tapping into that competitive streak is collecting data on
performance and sharing those data in suitable ways. Experiences in the
tuna fleets of the eastern Pacific point the way to best-practice in this re-
gard. Fleet performance statistics are shared and there is private feedback
on individual performance, combined with discussion and coaching on
how to improve.
The second change driver comes from the external pressures imposed by
peers who expect others to ‘pull their weight’. This pressure can come in
subtle (and possibly less subtle!) social interactions. It may then be a short
step from here to creating legislative or management instruments such as
individual or fleet by-catch quotas, or by-catch hot-spot reporting systems,
that essentially serve to normalise procedures and make them recognised
8.9.2 Conclusions
I hope the model described here provides a useful way to think about these
case-studies and helps give further insights into how change in fisheries
occurs. I also hope that this model, or something like it, will be used in
discussions with the players involved in a fishery to help promote change.
I base this hope on the premise the more fishers, NGOs, legislators, and
others understand the bigger picture of what is happening, the greater their
engagement and the more informed are their decisions.
One example of where discussion of the change model itself could be
useful is for gaining agreement on where a particular fishery is on its
journey and on the leadership actions that are most suitable for moving
it forward. Getting agreement on this could, for example, avoid contin-
ued litigation or harping on the need for change when such actions could
be counter-productive and slow or even halt progress. The situation faced
by Seabird Solutions in New Zealand seems to be an example of this
Working with Fishers to Reduce By-catches 285
problem (Thomas and Molloy, Case-study 4). The success of such discus-
sions depends of course on the key players having negotiable positions,
something that is by no means guaranteed. This appears to be the problem
in Hawaii, for example, where continued litigation to close the fishery
completely is stalling the introduction of further improvements (Gilman
et al., Case-study 6).
The stories presented in this chapter are highly varied and describe
fisheries at different stages along a continuum of change. While it is
tempting to highlight deficiencies, it is important to remember that the
common theme running through all of them is success. To greater or
lesser degrees, they describe initiatives that are reducing by-catch and
making fisheries more ecologically sustainable. What is especially
encouraging is some fisheries seem to have reached the normative
stage, and have fully institutionalised a set of improved practices. For
fisheries that have reached this stage, the time may well be right to loop
back to start another round of improvement.
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... Many fisheries change agents have described methods for fostering and encouraging the acceptance of bycatch reduction outcomes by fishers, and in some cases, included models designed to elicit changes in fisher behaviour (Hall et al., 2007;Watson, 2007;Eayrs et al., 2015;Thompson et al., 2016;Eayrs and Pol, 2019). Common threads in these models include participation by fishers in the design and testing of bycatch reduction devices, their active role as champions of the device, including the sharing of testing outcomes, and opportunities for fishers to test these devices themselves with low financial risk (Johnson and van Densen, 2007;Johnson, 2010). ...
... Despite the deep thought and knowledge that the interviewees brought to this effort and the commonality among their experiences, the five BPs themes (Box 1) identified in this study are not new ideas and instead are already well-established. For example, Broadhurst et al. (1996) and Hall et al. (2007) reported that fisher cooperation and involvement were necessary because of their deep knowledge of fishing, ability to identify practical solutions, act as champions of change, and facilitate acceptance of research outcomes by other fishers. In another example, all 182 projects reviewed by Eayrs and Pol (2019) included a description of efforts to regularly communicate research outcomes to fishers, the majority doing so through presentations at industry meetings, articles in industry literature, and project reports. ...
This paper identifies, critiques, and offers suggestions for successful fisheries change initiatives to reduce bycatch. Through analysis of interviews and a workshop with fisheries change agents, we identified six themes. The first theme is that definitions of success varied between change initiatives. The other five themes relate to perceptions of best practices for change initiatives. They are the importance of (1) engaging diverse, motivated stakeholders in the initiative, in addition to fishers, (2) identifying and articulating clear benefits to fishers, (3) communicating with fishers early and throughout the initiative, particularly through face-to-face interactions and videos, (4) demonstrating positive change agent qualities, and (5) executing an appropriate and well-timed project. These best practices are widely recognized but have not consistently yielded widespread change. We hypothesize this is partly due to fisheries change agents being financially constrained, not measuring outcomes, and not having the proper training, such as knowledge of change management and human behaviour theories. We highlight one especially promising theory, change readiness, which includes cognitive and affective change readiness. We discuss the need to develop affective change readiness among fishers, given that change management research shows that emotions play an important role in the uptake of new ideas and changes.
... As such, there has been growing recognition that, in developing nations, strategies to mitigate sea turtle bycatch must address the human dimensions of bycatch. Social networks as well as community-based fishing cooperatives or councils have shown promise by improving communication and knowledge transfer between managers, scientists, and fishers, but new solutions are needed [10,13,14]. ...
... The ultimate success of sea turtle bycatch solutions is highly dependent on context due to a range of social-ecological factors such as fisheries dynamics; oceanographic and ecological conditions; political drivers; infrastructure; cultural, social, and economic conditions; or scale [10,13]. Nonetheless, the collaborative process, skills, and competencies are consistent and can produce effective solutions across a wide range of diverse contexts. ...
Full-text available
Coastal fisheries have intrinsic importance to the identity, values, and cultures in many of the communities they occur in. However, despite their importance, incidental capture (i.e., bycatch) of nontarget species in these fisheries is notoriously difficult to assess and manage. In particular, bycatch of sea turtles in coastal fisheries—primarily in gillnets, longlines, and trawls—has been linked to decline in populations worldwide. Sea turtle bycatch is prevalent in coastal fisheries of developing nations, where fishing communities are generally marginalized with high rates of poverty, limited access to education, and few livelihood alternatives. A new global approach to sea turtle bycatch mitigation is needed that can work in diverse local contexts and simultaneously meet social, economic, and ecological needs. This approach can only come from integrating knowledge between local fishers and conservation scientists, practitioners, and managers.
... It was also used successfully to evaluate the readiness of lobster fishers in the northeast United States in response to increasing water temperatures (Eayrs, in preparation). Hall et al. (2007) provided the earliest known example of retrospective consideration of the Kotter model to facilitate change in the fishing industry, and Eayrs and Pol (2018) reported on its retrospective application to evaluate several change initiatives around the world. While the proactive application of the three models has not yet occurred in a fishing industry context, either individually or collectively, their application retrospectively in this study implies that such an approach is feasible, relevant, and can be applied with confidence. ...
Two bycatch reduction initiatives in Australia's Northern Prawn Fishery were evaluated through the lens of a comprehensive change management model. This model combines the constructs of change Type, Readiness, Process, Inertia, and Time, and was developed because gear researchers have a poor record facilitating the voluntary uptake of proven fishing gear, including bycatch reduction devices. This evaluation identified where efforts by gear researchers to facilitate change in this fishery did and did not achieve desired outcomes. It identified differences in change type, precursors to change, and readiness of fishers to change, although extension activities were similar for both initiatives. No attempts were made to influence their affective readiness to change. During the second initiative, the process of overcoming inertia was influenced by a well-respected industry body. With a clear vision and improved fisher readiness to change, achievement of desired outcomes was relatively straightforward and less controversial. The proactive application of this model in the fishing industry awaits. However, this evaluation implies it is a useful road map to guide and inspire change in this industry. In the future, efforts to realize change must include consideration of affective change readiness, establishment of a guiding coalition, and promulgation of a clear vision.
... In the case of large-scale tuna fisheries that operate in the open ocean, collaborative development is especially valuable, as scientific research in wide ranging fishing grounds is expensive due to the need to hire research vessels and the time needed for scientists to be at sea (Moreno et al., 2007). More specifically for megafauna bycatch, participatory research involving surveys, workshops, focus groups, and other information gathering and sharing methods between fishers and scientists has yielded to date some of the most successful developments in mitigation technologies including turtle excluder devices (TEDs), tori lines, Medina panels, and the backdown procedure, to name a few (Hall, 2007;Jenkins, 2010;Johnson, 2010). To co-develop Mobulid bycatch mitigation strategies in tropical tuna purse seine fisheries, we conducted a qualitative and quantitative investigation of fisher knowledge of, perceptions about, and ideas to address threatened species bycatch in large-scale tuna fisheries. ...
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Manta and devil rays (Mobulids) face several immediate threats, including incidental capture in industrial tropical tuna fisheries. As a result, efforts have emerged to avoid or mitigate Mobulid bycatch in these fisheries. However, many mitigation efforts fail to incorporate fisher expertise from the outset, potentially leading to interventions that are not viable. Here, we combine survey and focus group data to synthesize knowledge of Mobulid bycatch and mitigation ideas in Eastern Pacific Ocean purse seine fisheries. Primary obstacles for mitigating Mobulid bycatch, according to respondents, are: (1) an inability to sight Mobulids before capture, (2) the lack of specific equipment on board, and (3) the difficulty of releasing large individuals; we suggest that the latter two can be addressed by simple operational modifications. We also find that Mobulids are most likely to be sighted by fishers after capture, suggesting that this is an important time in the fishing operation for bycatch mitigation interventions that ensure Mobulids survive capture. To address this, we share creative ideas brought by fishers for avoidance of Mobulids. This study provides a model of how to incorporate stakeholder input in the design of bycatch technology in large-scale fisheries and could inform similar efforts around the world.
... We find that risk to megafauna is concentrated in coastal areas within Exclusive Economic Zones, which highlights the importance of the coastal States in managing fishing in their waters. Given the limited governance capacity of many Indian Ocean countries, improving national fisheries management institutions will require substantial assistance from regional organizations and better-resourced governments (Sinan & Bailey, 2020 Despite the challenges of improving by-catch monitoring and mitigation, there are promising solutions emerging that are advancing beyond gear modifications, for example integrating satellite and other data sources to build dynamic management tools and by-catch warning systems, or working directly with fisher organizations to develop context-specific tactics to avoid catching protected species (Hall et al., 2007;Hazen et al., 2018;Howell et al., 2015). Electronic monitoring systems-which contribute to basic catch documentation and enforcement of regulations-are becoming increasingly feasible (Suuronen & Gilman, 2020). ...
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By-catch is the most significant direct threat marine megafauna face at the global scale. However, the magnitude and spatial patterns of megafauna by-catch are still poorly understood, especially in regions with very limited monitoring and expanding fisheries. The Indian Ocean is a globally important region for megafauna biodiversity and for tuna fisheries, but has limited by-catch data. Anecdotal and scattered information indicates high by-catch could be a major threat. Here, we adapt a Productivity Susceptibility Analysis tool designed for data-poor contexts to present the first spatially explicit estimates of by-catch risk of sea turtles, elasmobranchs, and cetaceans in the three major tuna fishing gears (purse seines, longlines, and drift gill nets). Our assessment highlights a potential opportunity for multi-taxa conservation benefits by concentrating management efforts in particular coastal regions. Most coastal waters in the northern Indian Ocean, including countries that have had a minimal engagement with regional management bodies, stand out as high risk for fisheries interactions. In addition to species known to occur in tuna gears, we find high vulnerability to multiple gear types for many poorly known elasmobranchs that do not fall under any existing conservation and management measures. Our results indicate that current by-catch mitigation measures, which focus on safe-release practices, are unlikely to adequately reduce the substantial cumulative fishing impacts on vulnerable species. Preventative solutions that reduce interactions with non-target species (such as closed areas or seasons, or modifications to gear and fishing tactics) are crucial for alleviating risks to megafauna from fisheries.
... The authors understood from colleagues in other institutes in north western Europe that, following the pulse ban, fishers in their countries also have questioned why they should invest in the development of innovative gears if in the policy process anything can happen. Similar observations were made in the case of bycatch reduction projects in Hawaii (M. A. Hall et al., 2007). In the interviews, the need for an evidence-based approach to gear innovation was highlighted by fishers and scientists alike. ...
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Improving the selectivity of fishing gear and practices has been a challenge for fishers, scientists, and policy-makers for decades. In Europe, urgency increased with the introduction of the landing obligation. Voluntary uptake of proven selective gears has been poor across the globe. To increase uptake levels, a move from science-led to industry-led development of selective gears has been advocated. In the Netherlands, gear innovation has, since the mid-2000s, been fisher-led. Nevertheless, this did not result in the assumed increase in uptake. Our qualitative study amongst Dutch demersal fishers shows that decisions to voluntarily adopt proven fishing gear are driven by a complex interplay of social, policy, and science-related factors. These can be attributed to two behavioural components: Willingness and Ability. Willingness, our study showed, is closely linked to: (i) intrinsic motivations and beliefs about sustainable fishing as well as perceptions about the motivations and behaviour of other fishers; (ii) the extent to which fishers consider policy goals and regulations as legitimate; and (iii) strong normative beliefs amongst fishers about the presence (or absence) of a level playing field, in terms of both the same rules applying to all and trust in compliance and enforcement. Ability is associated with knowledge, skills, economic, and legal possibilities to enable voluntary uptake, and tends to be the focus of science and policy. We conclude that a narrow focus on Ability as a driver for encouraging selective fishing is unlikely to result in real changes, and recommend a stronger emphasis on addressing social, policy- and science-related factors associated with Willingness in encouraging more selective fisheries.
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Reducing the capture of non-target species and juvenile fishes through a variety of gear modifications and bycatch reduction devices are presumed to provide long-term biological and socioeconomic benefits and improve the reputation of fisheries. The adoption of these technologies by fisheries, however, has been low compared to research and development efforts. Research has focused on technical design and catch rate responses to these technological interventions with a limited focus on assessing fishers’ attitudes towards these technologies. This essay gives a personal reflection, based on an extensive collaboration with fishers, of the perspectives and barriers that may affect their responses. I also provide suggestions on how to genuinely engage fishers in the process that could lead to agreeable solutions. Above all, change should be approached from the perspective of those whose behavior one is seeking to influence, acknowledging the heterogeneity among fisheries and fishers. The essential element for the success is fishers’ motivation and readiness to the change. Fishers need a clear vision of what the changes mean for their livelihood and evidence that the technology to minimize bycatch performs sufficiently well in various conditions.
Bycatch is a major fisheries management issue that negatively impacts global marine ecosystems. Reducing protected species bycatch can be difficult because most commercial fishing gear is nonselective, many marine species occupy similar habitats as target species, and significant investments and collaborations are needed to test bycatch reduction solutions. Bycatch has been reduced in many fisheries, but could be further reduced using novel sociotechnical solutions. Sociotechnical solutions focus on how social and technical practices are embedded in complex social and economic systems, with a focus on human agency and context. To determine if sociotechnical solutions could apply to bycatch reduction, we examined a case study from the Hawai‘i longline fleet. We interviewed 38 captains and crewmembers to better understand the potential of sociotechnical solutions to further reduce bycatch, but also any social barriers that may impede their adoption. Although the Hawai‘i longline fleet is a leader in bycatch reduction and mitigation, our interviews uncovered how the fleet could further reduce bycatch through enhanced communication, relocation to avoid aggregations of protected species, and other innovative ideas developed by fishers. Overall, our research supports previous studies that emphasized the importance of addressing the human dimensions of bycatch reduction, but also identified some social barriers to sociotechnical solutions. To accomplish ecosystem-based fisheries management goals, scientists, managers, and fishers must acknowledge and address these social barriers and provide necessary institutional support to continue reducing bycatch in global commercial fisheries.
Franciscana is considered the most endangered small cetacean in western South Atlantic and fishing-related mortality is currently the major immediate threat to its survival. Its coastal distribution makes it vulnerable to entanglement in both artisanal and industrial, fisheries, especially in gillnets. High levels of incidental catches in gillnet fisheries have occurred since the late 1960s in Uruguay and the 1980s in Argentina and Brazil. Although the magnitude of bycatch varies regionally from a few hundreds to a few thousands, there is evidence that the current levels of mortality are unsustainable for most, if not all, franciscana populations. Despite the persistent warnings of the problem and the testing of many technological and management solutions for other small cetaceans, that could be applied to franciscana, at least in some areas where small-scale artisanal gillnetting predominates, the fact is that the bycatch still exceeds by far our ability to deal with it. Other potential causes of human-related mortality, such as habitat degradation, may have a synergetic effect and increase the risk of franciscana collapse.
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Participatory decision tools enable stakeholders to reconcile conflicting natural resources management objectives. Fisheries targeting highly productive species can have profound impacts on co-occurring bycatch species with low fecundity and other life history traits that make them vulnerable to anthropogenic sources of mortality. This study developed a decision tool for integrated bycatch management for data-limited to data-rich fisheries, improving upon current piecemeal approaches. First, through a systematic literature review, participants compile a comprehensive database of methods to mitigate the catch and fishing mortality of threatened bycatch species. These mitigation methods are then categorized into tiers of a sequential mitigation hierarchy, where interventions that avoid capture are considered before those that minimize catchability, followed by methods that minimize fishing mortality, before approaches that offset residual impacts. The methods are also assembled within an evidence hierarchy, where findings from meta-analytic modelling studies are more robust and generalizable than from individual studies. The decision tool enables stakeholders to evaluate alternative bycatch management strategies’ efficacy at meeting specific and measurable objectives for mitigating the catch and mortality of bycatch and for costs from multispecies conflicts, economic viability, practicality and safety, while accounting for the fishery-specific feasibility of compliance monitoring of alternative bycatch management measures. Ongoing adaptation of the bycatch management framework addresses findings from performance assessments, updated evidence, new mitigation methods and changes to governance systems. The proposed decision tool therefore enables stakeholders to develop bycatch management frameworks that provide precautionary protection for the most vulnerable populations with acceptable tradeoffs.
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In this paper, we modified and updated a stage-based population model for loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) and used the model to project potential population-level effects of the use of turtle excluder devices (TEDs) in trawl fisheries of the southeastern US. We reduced the seven-stage model of Crouse et al. (1987) to a five-stage model and performed sensitivity analyses on the matrix. The most sensitive matrix parameters were those dealing with survival while remaining in a stage, rather than growth from one stage to the next or reproductive output. Population growth rate was most sensitive to survival in the large juvenile stage, followed by small juvenile survival. Large juveniles are the most common size class among stranded dead turtles found on beaches; 70-80% of strandings are thought to be related to trawl fisheries. Simulations of our loggerhead model based on estimated effects of TED regulations on stage-specific survivorship suggested that southeastern US loggerhead populations should increase, but rather slowly. If TEDs were required during the shrimping season in offshore areas only (as they were from 1990 to 1992), 70 yr or more would be required for the simulated population to increase by an order of magnitude. Recent estimates of TED effects from South Carolina strandings data suggest a similar recovery rate. Good compliance with regulations requiring TEDs year-round in all waters could allow the population to increase nearly twice as fast as that expected under the ''seasonal offshore'' regulations. We also used a Leslie matrix version of the model to illustrate the expected transient response in the numbers of females expected on nesting beaches (due to shifting age-size structures with TED use). Rather than a monotonic increase, we expect an initial increase in the number of nesting females, followed by a leveling off or slight decline (perhaps 10-15 yr from now), followed by another increase. The magnitude of the projected population increase will depend upon the actual increases in stage-specific survivorship due to TED regulations. New, or compensatory, sources of mortality could slow or reverse this projected recovery.
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One of the most globally critical threats to seabirds is mortality in longline fisheries. Available estimates for total albatross mortality in North Pacific pelagic longline fisheries, along with population modeling experiments on the Black-footed Albatross, highlight the concern that mortality in longline fisheries threatens the existence of Black-footed Albatrosses and may pose a significant threat to the other North Pacific albatross species. The potential exists to minimize seabird mortality in longline fisheries to insignificant levels, given the degree of international attention, the existence of legally binding accords, the availability of cost-effective seabird deterrent methods, and the usefulness of economic incentive instruments. To realize this potential, however, will require widespread implementation of relevant multilateral accords and initiatives , provision of strong economic incentives for vessels to voluntarily use effective seabird deterrents, and implementation of effective formal constraints that provide strong economic disincentives for noncompli-ance with seabird conservation measures. Adoption of an international performance standard for hook sink rate with concomitant standardization of gear line weighting by gear manufacturers is offered as a specific next step to help abate this problem.
This chapter reports on trends in the breeding populations of selected species at Dumont D’Urville, Antarctica and at Crozet, Amsterdam and Kerguelen Islands (French Austral and Antarctic territories). Populations of 12 seabird and three seal species are reviewed and analyzed. While most of the penguin and fur seal populations are today increasing, several populations of albatrosses and petrels and elephant seals are dangerously declining. Most of the changes reported here are considered to have been induced by past and present human activities. The importance of monitoring and demographic studies of birds and seals for managing and protecting the living resources of the Southern Ocean is stressed.
(1) The wandering albatross breeding population at Bird Island, South Georgia has declined since 1961 at a rate of 1.0% per annum. Similar declines have occurred elsewhere in the Subantarctic. (2) Using detailed data on recaptures of birds ringed as chicks in 1958, 1962, 1963 and 1972 onwards, we examine the relative importance of changes in breeding success, breeding frequency and survival and recruitment rates to the decline since 1976. (3) Breeding success (average 64%) has increased by 1.2% per annum, with increases in hatching and fledging success about equally responsible. Breeding frequency has remained constant, except that higher breeding success means more birds breeding biennially. Of successful breeders, 72%, 8% and 6% breed 2, 3 and more years later, respectively; of unsuccessful birds, 68%, 14% and 6% breed 1, 2 and more years later. (4) Recruitment to the breeding population has decreased from 36% (of a cohort) in the 1960s to 30% nowadays; average age of first breeding has also decreased. (5) Adult survival averages 94%; females have a 2% significantly lower rate than males; survival in the 1960s was probably 1-2% higher. (6) A demographic model is developed which closely matches the observed changes and gives rates of population decrease between 0.9 and 1.1% per annum. (7) The causes of the population decrease must operate mainly outside the breeding season (because of high breeding success); the few recoveries of birds of known status support this. Earlier suggestions that incidental mortality due to fishing activity in lower latitudes is important are strongly reinforced by new data (direct observations, ringing recoveries) on birds killed during long-line fishing for tuna. Annual mortality rates may exceed 2-3% of Bird Island adults and 15% of juveniles.
A conservative calculation of the number of albatrosses killed annually on Japanese longlines in southern oceans in 44 000. The actual figure could be double and is sufficiently high to substantiate claims that serious declines in albatross populations are due to this fishing activity. Albatrosses have an economic impact on longline fisheries with annual losses to the southern bluefin tuna fishery alone exceeding $A7 million. If all fish species and the total longlining effort were considered, it would be many millions of dollars greater. Apart from a concern for albatrosses, Japan's longline fishermen would also benefit by using the solutions offered. It is suggested that a 70% reduction in the problem is possible and that an overall reduction in excess of 90% could be achieved. Further monitoring is essential.
Since society values both, it is desirable to implement management solutions that protect these species while minimizing social and economic impact, even if it is not required by law. This case study analyzed management issues relating to sea turtle bycatch in a small-scale gillnet fishery that targets flounder in Pamlico Sound, North Carolina. A primary goal of this research was to examine the feasibility of achieving both biological and social objec­tives by determining if any compatibility existed between those different objectives. This was done by cross-referencing quantitative social data with management measures that would achieve biological goals. Qualitative data also provided insight into scientific issues, obstacles to management effectiveness, and potential solutions. Overall, this article discusses the possibility of implementing solutions that reflect multiple societal values while operating under the Endangered Species Act.