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Albatross Task Force gets to work

Real hope of turning the tide…

BirdLife have appointed their first Albatross Task Force (ATF) members. Meidad Goren and Maria Honig are based with BirdLife South Africa and are working directly with fishermen.

They are soon to be followed by another two ATF members in Brazil and by the end of this year, it’s hoped to have an ATF team working in Chile.

Meidad Goren has been onboard tuna longliners doing bycatch observations and conducting at-sea trials of streamer lines, which scare albatrosses away from the baited line. He commented, "A recent trip I made was very interesting, though sad as we came back with 16 dead birds [12 shy albatrosses and four white-chinned petrels]. One of the hardest things is feeling sad when a dead bird is hauled up. Every time it happens it breaks my heart, but I know I have to be strong and not let my feelings show."He added, "The crews are very helpful and on my last trip I even appointed the Chief Engineer as a Bird Officer!" It is with this spirit of cooperation, collaboration and understanding on both parts, that the Albatross Task Force will be at its most successful.

"I was thrilled at the idea of becoming an Albatross Task Force member. I particularly like the way that the programme does not limit itself to making management decisions behind a desk, but instead works directly with fishermen." said Maria Honig, Albatross Task Force Maria Honig has so far been onshore, training observers and hosting a successful bycatch workshop for 75 hake longline fishermen. The workshop presented results of at-sea trials of weighted lines (which sink faster out of the reach of seabirds).

Read Meidad and Maria’s diaries at: http://www.savethealbatross.net/field_diary.asp

4th July 2014