National Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Tuna Longline Fisheries
The issue of seabird bycatch by longline fisheries has drawn the attention of the international community since the 1990s. Relevant international conservation organizations and countries began to conduct pertinent conservation research topics, including quantification of the seabird bycatch, through international cooperation and studies to provide recommendations for conservation measures and continuous monitoring of the extent of seabird incidental catch.
Fishery authorities and managers are responsible for the development of the methodology to avoid incidental seabird bycatch by vessels. As Taiwan is one of the countries engaging in tuna longline fishing, the government of Taiwan is obligated to monitor the incidental catch of seabirds by Taiwanese vessels in order to assess and analyze the seabird bycatch by longline fisheries and demand that fishers take appropriate measures to mitigate the incidental catch of seabirds so as to effectively reduce the impact of longline fisheries on seabird resources.
In response to the “International Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries” adopted by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1999, the government of Taiwan formulated “The National Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds by Taiwan Longline Vessels”(NPOA-Seabirds) in 2006. The NPOA-Seabirds call upon extensive collection of related international information, planning of data collection, evaluation of scientific research, continuation of educational advocacy, and requirement of fishers to obey relevant laws and regulations promulgated by the government of Taiwan based on the resolutions adopted by the respective Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) to fulfill the responsibility of seabird conservation.
The implementation of the 2006 NPOA-Seabirds was followed by progress in seabird incidental catch research and mitigation measures. In this context, the Fisheries Agency (FA), which conducted the overall program planning, invited Associate Professor H. W. Huang from the National Taiwan Ocean University (NTOU), Associate Professor C. C. Cheng from the Kuohsiung Medical University, Associate Professor S. S. Ding from the National Taiwan University (NTU) and experts from the Forestry Bureau of theCouncil of Agriculture (COA), Taiwan Tuna Association, and Chinese Wild Bird Federation, to participate in the program and help updatingthe information in the NPOA-Seabirds. Some of the figures in this report were taken from the results of such research. The photographs of seabirds were takenby observers on board tuna longline fishing vessels during their observer missionsat sea, and special thanks are hereby extended to Mr. Huan-Chang Liao in this regard.
By updating the NPOA-Seabirds, the Fisheries Agency hopes to pursue sustainable conservation of seabirds and sustainable use of fisheries resources based on the original objective of the NPOA.