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Seabird bycatch in the southwest Atlantic interaction with the Uruguayan pelagic longline fishery

Seabird bycatch in the southwest Atlantic interaction with the Uruguayan pelagic longline fishery

Polar Biology 32(2): 187-196

ISSN/ISBN: 0722-4060

DOI: 10.1007/s00300-008-0519-8

This paper analyzes the spatiotemporal variation and the causes of seabird bycatch by the Uruguayan pelagic longline fleet in a region of the Atlantic Ocean where the world's highest historical rates of seabird bycatch were recorded. The study is based on data obtained by the Uruguayan Observers Program in 29 trips, conducted from 1998 to 2004, totalling about 648,000 hooks. The bird capture per unit of effort (BCPUE) for the studied period was 0.42 birds/1,000 hooks. The highest BCPUE values were recorded in the period May-November. Three zones were identified, with BCPUEs of 2.50 birds/1,000 hooks (very high); 0.78 birds/1,000 hooks (high) and 0.04 birds/1,000 hooks (low). Though these BCPUE values are lower than those historically reported, some are still high in global terms. Night setting was found to be effective in reducing seabird bycatch, but it is necessary to implement additional measures as seabirds have access to bait also by night, especially during the more luminous moon phases.

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Accession: 037465651

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