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Holistic approach is crucial for seabird

In some fishing grounds, incidental takes of seabirds chasing bait fish happen during tuna longline operations. Longline fishermen have long been taking steps to avoid the seabird incidental take as it hampers their fishing operations. Ideas and efforts of crew have been accumulated in developing ways and means to reduce incidental takes. At present, the use of Tori-pole and night-time line setting and other means are being practiced as management measures in regional tuna fishing management organizations, with tangible results in promoting the conservation of seabirds.

Efforts by tuna longline fishermen alone are not sufficient to make conservation of seabirds truly effective. Equally important are the efforts to prevent marine pollution and protect seabird nesting grounds. In nesting places, not only the measures to prevent the attack on seabird eggs and juveniles by feral animals but also the measures to hold in check the loss of the fishing grounds themselves are necessary. In sum, it is crucial to take a holistic approach to determine various factors affecting seabirds over the broad spectrum of seabird life cycle and implement appropriate measures steadily and on a case-by-case basis. Real conservation of seabirds will not be achieved only by focusing on the impact coming from tuna longline fishing.

Torishima Island in Japan’s near-shore area is well-known as a major nesting place of albatrosses. The population of albatrosses in the area was said to have been endangered to the brink of extinction at one time, but, as a result of efforts, led by Prof. Hiroshi Hasegawa of Toho University, to conserve the disappearing nesting grounds, the population is now estimated to have rebounded to 3,000 individuals, with a prospect of reaching 5,000 individuals by 2019. Such efforts are valued highly by people concerned as a true form of seabird conservation campaign.