Bycatch - seabirds

​​​It is concerning that large numbers of seabirds are being incidentally caught in various fisheries across the world. Specifically in oceans close to Australia, albatrosses and petrels are the species most frequently caught incidentally from fishing activities.

To address key threats to seabirds from fishing activities in Australia, the Australian Government is part of the:

  • United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) International Plan of Action (IPOA–Seabirds). The IPOA–Seabirds is a voluntary instrument within the framework of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and sets out principles and international standards of behaviour for responsible fishing practices.​
  • Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP).

The Department of the Environment and Energy is responsible for the national Threat Abatement Plan for the Incidental Catch (or Bycatch) of Seabirds during Oceanic Longline Fishing Operations. This draft plan coordinates national action to alleviate the impact of longline fishing activities on seabirds in Australian waters. It applies to all fisheries under the Commonwealth jurisdiction.

The Australian Government has developed a National Plan of Action for minimising the incidental catch of seabirds in Australian capture fisheries (NPOA–Seabirds). NPOA–Seabirds is a voluntary measure that has been developed to provide a comprehensive and nationally consistent approach to reducing the impact of fishing on seabirds.  It draws together existing regulatory and voluntary management arrangements into one document and provides additional guidance for future management decisions around seabird mitigation measures.

The plan provides clear guidance on best practice mitigation, monitoring and reporting of seabird interactions. It aims to reduce duplication, target responses to areas identified as having the strongest need, and assist fisheries managers and industry towards more uniform, efficient and cost effective seabird bycatch management.  

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National Plan of Action - Seabirds PDF PDF Icon48648 KB
National Plan of Action - Seabirds DOCX Word Icon48784 KB

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National Reporting

Implementation is expected to occur over four years and will recognise existing practices and management arrangements for Australian capture fisheries. An implementation report will be prepared annually and made available to the public via this webpage.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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