Fishermen in the South Atlantic Ocean are cutting off the beaks of endangered albatrosses

Yvonne O'Halloran

It has been revealed that some fishermen have been killing albatrosses that get stuck on their hooks as they fish for tuna, swordfish and halibut.

After being accidentally caught on fishing gear, the endangered birds often have their beaks cut off whilst they are still alive, before being thrown back into the ocean where they are left to die.

Longline fishing is a technique frequently used in the South Atlantic Ocean, involving a main line of cable with baited hooks attached at intervals to cover a wide area.

Unfortunately, birds such as albatross are attracted to the bait as the lines are being set and so often get caught up in the hooks.

Whilst there are ways to free to animals without harm, many fishermen cut the bills of these endangered species instead.

Dr Alex Bond, Senior Curator in Charge of Birds at the National History Museum has been working to document cases of this cruel practice.

He stated: “we don’t know the true extent of the problem, but the fact that we are seeing it in this volume suggests that it is uncomfortably common.”

“Ultimately, the way to prevent this practice is to increase education around safe handling practices of live birds that come aboard ship,”

The Albatross Task Force, a team of experts in seabird mitigation, are also working to help fishing crews learn how to safely remove birds whilst avoiding harm.

Article written by Martha Moody- United Kingdom




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