SEABIRD TASK FORCE
Working with fishermen to reduce seabird bycatch in Europe
Across the world, seabirds are caught in many different kinds of fisheries and fishing gears, including in longlines, trawls and fishing nets. Each year in Europe, over 200,000 seabirds are estimated to be killed when they are accidentally caught in fishing gear. BirdLife considers these unintentional deaths, known as ‘bycatch’, to be a major factor in the population declines of some seabird species, which could be the nail in the coffin for some critically endangered birds.
For the past decade, BirdLife International has been working alongside fishermen in South America and southern Africa to reduce seabird bycatch through the Albatross Task Force. This trained group of seabird bycatch mitigation experts works alongside fishermen to develop and adapt cost effective solutions to the problem.
Until now, this collaborative, instructor-led approach has never been tested in Europe. Thanks to the support of Fondation Segré, we established the European Seabird Task Force in 2014 to work with fishermen to tackle the seabird bycatch problem in Europe. Our expert team is currently focused on demersal longlines and set gillnets, two fishing gears thought to be responsible for high numbers of seabird bycatch in Europe. Since beginning in 2014, we have secured a project with the European Commission which supports further work to mitigate gillnet bycatch. Learn more about seabird bycatch.