Albatrosses spying on illegal fishers

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
User avatar
Neil Fitzgerald
Site Admin
Posts: 3375
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 10:20 am
Location: Hamilton, New Zealand
Contact:

Albatrosses spying on illegal fishers

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Fri Jan 31, 2020 10:28 pm

Albatrosses have been used to successfully find illegal fishing vessels by tracking their radar signals and reporting their position in realtime.

https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020 ... 1915499117

Here, we demonstrate that animal-borne, satellite-relayed data loggers both detected and localized fishing vessels over large oceanic sectors. Attraction of albatrosses to fishing vessels differed according to species and age. We found high proportions of nondeclared fishing vessels operating in international waters, as well as in some remote national seas. Our results demonstrate the potential of using animals as Ocean Sentinels for operational conservation.
User avatar
Neil Fitzgerald
Site Admin
Posts: 3375
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 10:20 am
Location: Hamilton, New Zealand
Contact:

Re: Albatrosses spying on illegal fishers

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Fri Jan 31, 2020 10:31 pm

Jos1
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:29 am

Re: Albatrosses spying on illegal fishers

Postby Jos1 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:32 am

This is potentially not good news - if illegal operators understand that albatrosses can be used to track their position, I would imagine some illegal operators would routinely kill albatrosses to try to avoid detection.

Same is happening with vultures in Botswana - elephant poachers have started mass poisoning vultures because they reveal poached carcases.
User avatar
Neil Fitzgerald
Site Admin
Posts: 3375
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 10:20 am
Location: Hamilton, New Zealand
Contact:

Re: Albatrosses spying on illegal fishers

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:37 am

Noted in the interview is that the tags are discrete and fishers would have a hard time targeting individual birds among hundreds or thousands of others on rough seas. Indiscriminatly targeting birds would have very low chance of getting a tagged bird.
Jos1
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:29 am

Re: Albatrosses spying on illegal fishers

Postby Jos1 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:43 am

Hopefully, but I still would have doubts as to the wisdom of this if it became common knowledge among the illegal operators that albatrosses were being used to spy on them. Poachers in Botswana haven't tried to target individual birds, they are trying to wipe them out on mass. Maybe illegal fishing operators are more ethical?
Clinton9
Posts: 946
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:22 pm

Re: Albatrosses spying on illegal fishers

Postby Clinton9 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:44 am

They will shoot the albatrosses, with guns, cause numbers of albatrosses to drop.

In Africa, the flying vultures were shot by poachers because the vultures alerted guards to dead elephants & rhinos.
Guards have to check for vultures in sky, if vultures drop, guards will look for dead animals.

Jos1 wrote:This is potentially not good news - if illegal operators understand that albatrosses can be used to track their position, I would imagine some illegal operators would routinely kill albatrosses to try to avoid detection.

Same is happening with vultures in Botswana - elephant poachers have started mass poisoning vultures because they reveal poached carcases.
Jim_j
Posts: 579
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: Albatrosses spying on illegal fishers

Postby Jim_j » Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:45 pm

I tend to agree with the concerns - sounds a good idea in theory - but I can see illegal fishers arming themselves with shotguns etc and just blasting everything thet see out of the sky.
Cheers Jim
User avatar
Michael Szabo
Posts: 1429
Joined: Sun May 08, 2011 12:30 pm

Re: Albatrosses spying on illegal fishers

Postby Michael Szabo » Sun Feb 02, 2020 7:56 am

Given the flagrant disregard for the law that the owners and 'captains' of illegal fishing vessels clearly have, it seems likely that at least some of them could resort to the mass shooting of albatrosses at sea just as some illegal poachers have resorted to mass poisoning vultures in Botswana:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/21/worl ... hants.html
'Birds New Zealand' Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/Birdsnewzealand/
Jan
Posts: 1432
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 10:43 am
Location: Christchurch

Re: Albatrosses spying on illegal fishers

Postby Jan » Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:29 pm

That's why there should be cameras on all fishing boats. It isn't acceptable that only the boats with observers report bird casulties, as seems to be the case, reported recently.
Parula
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:18 am

Re: Albatrosses spying on illegal fishers

Postby Parula » Sun Feb 02, 2020 9:59 pm

I was horrified to read this report. Before I had finished reading it was apparent, at least to me, that illegal fisherman will use any method at their disposal to avoid detection (ie killing all albatrosses they encounter) This research is crass and inept with clearly NO thought given to the consequences of publishing. I hope I am wrong but I fear that permanent damage to albatross populations will have already been produced by this thoughtless publication.

Return to “General Birding Discussion”