The New Zealand government is facing calls for more decisive action to protect seabirds, particularly the Antipodean albatross, which is predicted to face extinction by 2050 according to Department of Conservation (DOC) modelling.
Dr Stephanie Borelle from Birdlife International highlighted the lack of universal adoption of international best practices by New Zealand’s surface longline fishing industry as a major factor in the species’ decline.
Current measures, such as bird-scaring lines, line-weighting, and nighttime setting of lines, are not consistently implemented in New Zealand waters. Borelle urged the new Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, Rachel Brooking, to take urgent and ambitious action to protect endangered seabirds.
Despite over a decade of non-regulatory measures, voluntary implementation of best practices has not effectively reduced by-catch rates.
The DOC modelling indicates a continuous decline in the Antipodean albatross population, leading to extinction by 2050 unless substantial measures are taken.