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 user 2006-11-07 at 11:19:00 am Views: 42
  • #16560

    Prince: ‘Duty to save albatross’
    Charles has said he believes the world has a duty to save the
    endangered albatross from extinction.The heir to the British throne
    said the demise of the iconic sea-bird would be “such an appalling
    commentary on the way we treat the world”.Campaigners say about 100,000
    birds drown each year after becoming caught on longline fishing
    hooks.The Prince of Wales made his comments in TVE’s Earth Report
    programme, to be broadcast on BBC World this weekend.Campaigners said
    the birds were primarily being killed unintentionally by longline
    fishing boats operating in the Southern Ocean.The vessels use lines up
    to 120 km (75 miles) long, each with thousands of baited hooks, to
    catch species such as tuna and swordfish.”There are 21 species of
    albatross in the world, and 19 of those are classified as being under
    threat of extinction,” Ben Sullivan, of BirdLife International, told
    the programme.Mr Sullivan said the population of black-browed albatross
    in South Georgia was declining by about 3-4% each year.”There are many
    of these species that are declining at a rate that is clearly
    unsustainable,” he added.Conservationists are working with fishing
    fleets in the region to cut the number of birds being caught on the
    lines.Because albatrosses were only active during daylight,
    conservationists said that night-time fishing cut the number of
    fatalities considerably.

    These mitigation measures have been shown to reduce the damage to albatrosses to almost zero Prince Charles

    there were also measures that could be used during daylight hours, Mr
    Sullivan suggested.”Adding weights to the lines means that the lines
    sink more quickly, so the quicker they sink, the faster they are out of
    reach of albatross and other sea-birds,” he said.Streamer lines, a rope
    tied to the end of the vessel with a buoy at one end and a series of
    streamers hanging from the line, were another option.”The cost of a
    streamer line, at about $50 (£26), is nothing compared with the value
    of any of the high target species such as tuna or swordfish, which can
    be worth several thousand dollars for a single fish,” Mr Sullivan
    revealed.Some fishing crews said they preferred to find fish on their
    hooks, not birds.”I didn’t know it was so easy to avoid catching birds,
    because… longliners and fishermen don’t want birds in the line,
    because they tangle the lines and they avoid having a good catch,” a
    captain of one boat said.

    Illegal fishing
    Prince Charles
    applauded the efforts of the conservation groups: “These mitigation
    measures have been shown to reduce the damage to albatrosses to almost
    zero.”So how do you then get the message across that these measures
    should be used at all times in all these fishing areas?” he
    asked.Campaigners estimate that illegal, unreported and unregulated
    fishing was responsible for up to a quarter of all albatross
    deaths.They said these vessels were not interested in efforts to reduce
    the number of birds caught on the lines, and the sheer scale of the
    Southern Ocean made it difficult to patrol.The prince concluded: “A lot
    is dependent on the retailers and big stores – they also can make a
    huge difference by deciding that they are going to obtain their fish
    only from certified stocks.”