Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Study estimates 400,000 seabirds are killed by gillnets

A recent study from the Biological Conservation journal brings shocking news: every year across the globe, an estimated 400,000 seabirds are killed by gillnets.

Gillnets, a common term for any net used to entangle and catch fish, are used all over the world, and at any depth. These nets, whether used in subsistence or commercial fishing, trap anything that swims through them. When unintended marine wildlife, or "bycatch," is caught in these nets, the results can be significant.

"Fishermen do not try to catch seabirds or other unwanted species, but they usually set their nets in productive marine areas with abundant fish resources, which are also home of other marine fauna," co-author Ramunas Zydelis told in an interview. "In such places seabird habitats overlap with fishing grounds and subsequently some diving birds accidentally entangle in fishing nets and drawn as they cannot return to the water surface."

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