The incidental take of marine birds was estimated for the following North Pacific driftnet fisheries in 1990: Japanese squid, Japanese large-mesh, Korean squid, and Taiwanese squid and large-mesh combined. The take was estimated by assuming that the data represented a random sample from an unstratified population of all driftnet fisheries in the North Pacific. Estimates for 13 species or species groups are presented, along with some discussion of inadequacies of the design. About 416,000 marine birds were estimated to be taken incidentally during the 1990 season; 80 % of these were in the Japanese squid fishery. Sooty Shearwaters, Short-tailed Shearwaters, and Laysan Albatrosses were the most common species in the bycatch. Regression models were also developed to explore the relations between bycatch rate of three groups Black-footed Albatross, Laysan Albatross, and dark shearwaters and various explanatory variables, such as latitude, longitude, month, vessel, sea surface temperature, and net soak time (length of time nets were in the water). This was done for only the Japanese squid fishery, for which the most complete information was available. For modelling purposes, fishing operations for each vessel were grouped into 5-degree blocks of latitude and longitude. Results of model building indicated that vessel had a significant influence on bycatch rates of all three groups. This finding emphasizes the importance of the sample of vessels being representative of the entire fleet. In addition, bycatch rates of all three groups varied spatially and temporally. Bycatch rates for Laysan Albatrosses tended to decline during the fishing season, whereas those for Black-footed Albatrosses and dark shearwaters tended to increase as the season progressed. Bycatch rates were positively related to net soak time for Laysan Albatrosses and dark shearwaters. Bycatch rates of dark shearwaters were lower for higher sea surface temperatures.
Additional publication details
Incidental catch of marine birds in high seas driftnets