Forest & Bird is appalled to learn that five critically threatened Antipodean albatross have died in a single long lining incident, only 24 hours after revelations that four endangered Hectors dolphins were killed in a trawl net.
Five Antipodean albatrosses and one Gibson’s albatross were killed when they were caught by a longline fishing vessel in the Bay of Plenty region between 2 December 2018 and 4 January 2019.
“Antipodean Albatross are as endangered as kakapo, and unless we fix our broken commercial fishing system, they will be extinct within 20 years. These needless and cruel deaths are appalling, and completely unacceptable,” says Forest & Bird Oceans Advocate Karen Baird.
“The albatross deaths were reported by an official MPI observer, but only a minority of fishing boats have observers on board. In the meantime, a few bad apples in the fishing industry are stalling the Government’s Cameras on Boats programme. This means no one has any idea how many precious native birds and dolphins are being killed in nets and on lines out at sea.
“MPI have pointed out that the fishing crew were operating entirely within the law. Imagine a law which permitted limitless accidental kakapo deaths at the hands of any industry. It is abundantly clear that a system which allows endangered species to be killed as ‘incidental by-catch’ by the fishing industry is completely broken.
“New Zealand must stand up to fishing companies like Talley’s and Te Ohu Kaimoana, who are pressuring the Government to delay the Cameras on Boats programme and keep New Zealand in the dark about their true impact on our native animals,” says Ms Baird.
“These albatross deaths are just the ones we know about. It is highly likely that many more deaths go unreported, and that New Zealand will be robbed of this majestic species by a few companies that only care about their own profit.”