Birds and Fisheries Issues

Laysan Albatross by Bill Hubick

Laysan Albatross by Bill Hubick.


When the ecological problems associated with fisheries are raised, the issue of sustainability of the fisheries themselves is usually at the forefront. Yet commercial fishing has impacts far beyond this obvious concern. Every year, thousands of seabirds, marine mammals, and other imperiled species are killed as unintended bycatch on the hooks of longlines and in the mesh of gill nets. These include imperiled species such as albatrosses and murrelets, and in some cases, commercial fishing is the primary reason for the species decline. In other cases, fish-eating birds such as terns and cormorants are seen as a threat to salmon runs, fish farms, and sport fisheries, and legally killed, despite sound scientific evidence that other factors are to blame for declines in fish stocks.


American Bird Conservancy continues to push for the protection of seabirds from longlines, working with the federal government and other conservation groups to ensure that proven mitigation measures are employed. Click on one of the pictures below for more information on specific fishery-related threats to birds.


Albatross drowned on a longline hook by Graham Robertson Red Knot at Port-Mahon, DE May2007 by Mike Parr Birds following a gill net boat by NOAA
Seabirds and Longlining Red Knots and Horseshoe Crabs Birds and Gill Nets
Albatross drowned on a longline hook by Graham Robertson Red Knot at Port Mahon, May 2007, by Mike Parr, ABC Seabirds following a gill net boat by NOAA