Sealord works to reduce seabird deaths

Tens of thousands of seabirds are being killed every year by commercial fishing vessels, something the fishing industry says it wants to change.

Although numbers vary, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates up to 40,000 seabirds are killed around New Zealand every year after flying into ships harvesting seafood.

Similarly to when seagulls are attracted to people eating fish and chips, they also swarm to fishing vessels, thinking there's a meal to be had.

But doing so often ends in their deaths.

“They’re either getting caught on baited hooks behind long liners or the big cables that are attached to trawl nets,” said Janice Molloy from Southern Seabird Solutions.

Sealord won an award last year for trying to reduce the number of birds killed.

Sealord’s Paul Taylor said the ocean is the seabirds’ environment and the fishing industry needs to respect that.

“They were there before we were, we're the new ones out there,” he said. “No-one likes to see seabirds killed unnecessarily, in particular the guys on board.”

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