Abstracts of Taiwan’s National Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds In Longline Fisheries (NPOA-Seabirds) In February 1999, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) established an International Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries (IPOA-Seabirds), urging States with longline fisheries to pay special attention to 1) the evaluation of the extent of the incidental catch of seabirds in their longline fisheries, 2) the development of a NPOA-Seabirds to reduce incidental catch of seabirds, 3) conducting future research and taking actions to reduce the incidental catch of seabirds. Considering Taiwan as one of the tuna longline vessels fishing countries in the world and a member of the international community, the government of Taiwan has implemented “Regulations on the installation of tori lines on longline vessels operating in areas south of 28°S” and promulgated “NPOA-Seabirds”, providing guidelines to tuna longline vessels to comply with the measures to reduce incidental catch of seabirds adopted by regional fisheries management organizations. It is hoped that such action will be of help to the work of conservation of seabirds, in fulfilling Taiwan’s responsibility in the work of fisheries conservation, and creating the image of Taiwan as a country which is prepared to assume the responsibility of achieving a harmony between sustainability of fisheries and the environment.
Taiwan’s National Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds In Longline Fisheries (NPOA-Seabirds) includes the following:
1) General Aspects of the Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Taiwan’s Tuna Longline Fisheries 2) International Regulations and Conservation Measures adopted by international organizations 3) Taiwan’s Past Efforts on Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds 4) Taiwan’s Future Conservation Measures on Seabirds 5) Phases for the Implementation of NPOA-Seabirds
Since 2001, scientific observers have been placing on board tuna longliners, operating in areas between 45°N and 45°S of the world’s major oceans. It was found that seabirds mostly distribute in the areas between 25°S to 37°S, with the incidental catch rate of around 0.0313 to 0.0619 seabirds per 1000 hooks as reported by scientific observer program.
To reduce incidental catch of seabirds in tuna longline fisheries, Taiwan has implemented a number of measures, which include:
1) Providing assistance to vessels in the installation of tori lines and other mitigation equipments, 2) Providing financial assistance to vessels in the installation of automatic line shooting machine and tori line, 3) Disseminating the notion of seabird conservation to captains, crewmembers and fishing companies concerned thru various channels. 4) Enhancement of international cooperation and scientific research
In the future, Taiwan will continue to enhance dissemination to raise public awareness, to place scientific observers on board longline vessels, to strengthen international cooperation in the mitigation measures and to provide timely assistance to tuna longliners in the adoption of effective mitigation measures, aiming to reduce the possibility of incidental catch of seabirds.
The objective of the NPOA-Seabirds is to establish a seabirds database by means of incorporating the data collected annually for the development of an assessment report from such data at the fourth year of the implementation of the NPOA. In areas where incidental catch of seabirds has been proven to occur, enhanced mitigation measures on vessels operating in such areas will be applied and their effectiveness will then be assessed. The result of the assessments would serve as guidelines for the adoption of appropriate mitigation measures by the fishermen. It is envisaged by complying with the measures on reducing incidental catch of seabirds adopted by regional fisheries management organizations, it will be of help to strengthen the work of Taiwan in seabirds conservation whereby demonstrating its determination in assuming its responsibility in the worldwide fisheries conservation.