After some weeks of continuous northern winds, the 2nd and 3rd of March the first STF surveys on-board of demersal long-liners in Spain were conducted. One observer of SEO/BirdLife shipped on a demersal long-liner based in Llançà, one of northernmost Catalan harbours next to the Spanish-French border. The main target of the fishing boat was the Blackspot seabream Pagellus bogaraveo. These first surveys were worth improving the methodology, getting familiar with it and collecting the first data. We characterised the fishing gear configuration and effort and observed no seabird bycatch. We also enjoyed of a very tasty on-board meal, which was worth recovering strength and knowing the fishermen from a personal point of view.
Only very few Yellow-legged gulls Larus michahellis, Mediterranen gulls L. melanocephalus and Kittywakes Rissa tridactyla followed the vessel during the operations. Seabirds ate discarded baits and one kittiwake stole one bait when setting but was not hooked. The shearwaters (only Mediterranean, Puffinus yelkouan) were very scarce during the operations, and most individuals were observed in coastal waters when returning to port.
During the following weeks we will keep contacting long-liner skippers and continue with on-board observations.