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The following article is from BirdLife SA
Researchers from across the world have collaborated to produce the first global review of penguin bycatch, published in the scientific journal Endangered Species Research.
Penguins are among the world’s most loved birds, in spite of the fact most people will never get to see one in the wild. Indeed, the opportunities to do so are diminishing, with 10 of the 18 penguin species threatened with extinction. After albatrosses, they are the most threatened group of seabirds and, like albatrosses, bycatch is thought to be a serious threat to some species.
Bycatch, or the accidental capture of non-target animals in fisheries, is a threat to an array of marine life, including dolphins, turtles and seabirds. To date, however, there has been no global assessment of this threat to penguins. This first global review of penguin bycatch highlights that 14 penguin species have been recorded as bycatch in fisheries, and that gillnets – and to a lesser extent trawls – are the fishing gears of most concern for penguins. Both are widespread fishing gears, and gillnets in particular – walls of fine nylon mesh used to catch fish by the gills – are the gear of choice for many small-scale fishers the world over.
Diving birds like penguins, unable to see the fine mesh underwater, are particularly vulnerable to gillnets, becoming entangled as they dive. The effect of bycatch is of greatest concern for three species: Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins, both found in South America, and Yellow-eyed Penguins, an endangered species found only in New Zealand.
“This work provides a clear focus for reducing the impact of bycatch on penguins – across the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of South America, and perhaps most urgently, in New Zealand for the endemic Yellow-eyed Penguin,” said Rory Crawford, Gillnet Programme Manager for BirdLife International, and co-ordinator of the review. “This has been a major collaborative effort from the penguin research community, but the hard work starts now. There needs to be direct engagement with the fishing industry and management authorities to tackle this problem.”
“Our own African Penguins have been caught in gillnets in the past, but luckily the government acted quickly and put in place gillnet bans around penguin breeding colonies,” said Christina Hagen, the Pamela Isdell Fellow of Penguin Conservation at BirdLife South Africa. “But we don’t know if this continues to be a problem, and urge anyone with sightings or information to please contact us.”
“In the past 20 years, Yellow-eyed Penguins have declined by 76% at previous population strongholds. Preventing their deaths in New Zealand inshore gillnet fisheries is a major priority to save them”, added Ursula Ellenberg, the New Zealand Penguin scientist who initiated the global review.
The impact of penguin bycatch across South America will require collaboration across international borders: “Magellanic penguins are being caught along their migratory route – from trawl fisheries next to their Argentinean breeding grounds to gillnet fisheries off southern Brazil in the non-breeding period,” said Esteban Frere, South America Coordinator for the BirdLife Marine Programme, who first conducted research into the bycatch of this species 20 years ago. “Further studies on-board vessels are required to assess the severity of the problem and identify solutions.”
The review recommends a number of actions to tackle the problem, including the presence of fisheries observers or video monitoring on vessels to monitor bycatch, as well as research into mitigation measures to make nets more visible to penguins. While this research is conducted, spatial and temporal management of fisheries will need to be considered to reduce the impact on the most threatened populations.
While much work is still to be done to reduce penguin bycatch, inspiration can be taken from other fisheries. The BirdLife Albatross Task Force, a team of instructors working directly on fishing vessels to implement simple measures to reduce albatross bycatch, has succeeded in reducing bycatch in a South African trawl fishery by over 90%. It is hoped that similar success can be achieved for penguins.
For further information please contact:
Rory Crawford, Programme Manager – Gillnets
BirdLife International Marine Programme
Tel: +44 (0)141 331 9801
Mobile: +44 (0)7739 921 489
Christina Hagen, Pamela Isdell Fellow of Penguin Conservation BirdLife South Africa firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +27 (0)21 4197347
The journal article can be downloaded here: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00869
The review represents the collaborative work of 29 co-authors from across the globe, drawing in expertise from environmental NGOs, academia and government fisheries departments.
Species and threat statuses (listed by BirdLife International for the IUCN Red List) of three species most threatened by bycatch:
Yellow-eyed Penguin Megadyptes antipodes (Endangered).
Humboldt Penguin Spheniscus humboldti (Vulnerable).
Magellanic Penguin Spheniscus magellanicus (Near-Threatened).
More information about BirdLife and the Albatross Task Force can be found at http://www.birdlife.org/marine
Our team, comprising Ronnie (Captain), Renee, Barbara and Ed, competed in the 2017 BBD yesterday. This is the national competition in which teams must see how many bird species they can identify in a circular area of their choice with a 50 km radius. 303 teams took part (and recorded 659 unique species) and the winner notched up an incredible 302 species in the Polokwane area. We managed to get 135 species which put us in the top 100, so we were well pleased with our day.
It started at 4:30 am and we birded from Stanford to Strandfontein, clocking just on 400 kms before we ended up at 7:30 pm, having concentrated on nothing but birds for 15 hours! Needless to say we were pretty tired by then, having achieved our last bird, a Spotted Eagle Owl, outside Craig’s home, 10 minutes earlier.
|Duinepos Outing – 128 Species seen|
|Apalis||Bar throated||Martin||Common house|
|Bulbul||Red eyed||Oriole||Black headed|
|Canary||Black headed||Pelican||Great white|
|Chat||Ant eating||Pipit||Plain backed|
|Chat||Sickle winged||Plover||Greater sand|
|Cisticola||Le Vaillant’s||Plover||Lesser sand|
|Coot||Red knobbed||Plover||White fronted|
|Duck||African black||Snake-Eagle||Black chested|
|Duck||White backed||Sparrow||Grey headed|
|Eagle||African crowned||Sparrowhawk||Rufous chested|
|Eremomela||Yellow bellied||Starling||Pale winged|
|Flycatcher||Fairy||Sunbird||Greater double collored|
|Francolin||Grey winged||Sunbird||Southern double collared|
|Godwit||Bar tailed||Swallow||Greater striped|
|Goose||Spur winged||Swallow||Pearl breasted|
|Grebe||Black necked||Swift||African palm|
|Lark||Agulhas long billed||Weaver||Cape|
|Lark||Cape long billed||Wheatear||Mountain|
|Lark||Karoo long billed||White eye||Orange river|
|Lark||Red capped||Wood-hoopoe||Green backed|
|Martin||Brown throated||Wydah||Pin tailed|
One of our founder members, Cherry Mills, passed away last weekend. She had been an active committee member and hers was the voice on our club DVD.
Her funeral will take place on Thursday 23rd at 11 at the United Church. She will be greatly missed!
Craig led the three day outing to Duinepos, which was attended by 16 lucky birders. The weather looked threatening and it was supposed to rain all day on Tuesday, but, luckily for us, it fell on Monday night and we only had a small shower or two on Tuesday.
Our adventure started on Sunday with a visit to the Geelbek hides and surrounding area. Sadly there were not many waders present, but we saw a family of four Rock Kestrels on the roof of the restaurant and they kept us well occupied with their antics. That evening we heard an owl calling and when I investigated on Monday morning, I thought we had found a Cape Eagle Owl. This made for much excitement and we managed to see it again on the following two mornings, however, a photograph sent to Trevor Hardaker, dashed our hopes when he confirmed it as a Spotted Eagle Owl!
On Monday morning we traveled to Veldrif and visited the salt works at Kuifkopvisvanger Farm. We had excellent sightings of many waders, including Chestnut Banded Plovers and Ruffs. It was a very good morning! In the afternoon, a visit to the Seeberg hide gave us the opportunity to see more waders and a good selection of Terns. A second visit to this hide on Tuesday morning added to our tally which was growing nicely. By the time we had visited Abrahamskraal for some freshwater birds, and the Atlantic coast, we had seen most of our target species.
On Wednesday morning the official outing ended and a few of us returned home, but not without another visit to Abrahamskraal, where we were rewarded with a pair of African Rails and another sighting of the rare Black-headed Canaries, that appear to have settled there.
Our species tally had reached the respectable total of 119, although it is likely that those remaining there for the next two days may well increase this number.
|BIRD CHECK LIST . . . . HERMANUS BIRD CLUB|
|Apalis Bar-throated||x||Flamingo Greater||x||Owl Barn||Teal Cape||x|
|Avocet Pied||x||Flamingo Lesser||x||Oystercatcher African Black||x||Tern Caspian||x|
|Barbet Acacia Pied||x||Flycatcher African Dusky||Painted-snipe Greater||Tern Common||x|
|Batis Cape||Flycatcher Fiscal||x||Paradise-Flycatcher African||Tern Little||x|
|Bee-eater European||x||Flycatcher Spotted||Pelican Great White||x||Tern Sandwhich||x|
|Bishop Southern Red||x||Francolin Grey-winged||x||Penguin African||Tern Swift||x|
|Bishop Yellow||x||Gannet Cape||x||Pigeon Speckled||x||Tern Whiskered|
|Bittern Little||Godwit Bar-tailed||Pipit African||x||Tern White-winged|
|Bokmakierie||x||Goose Egyptian||x||Pipit Long-billed||Thick-knee Water|
|Boubou Southern||Goose Spur-winged||Pipit Plain-backed||Thick-knee Spotted|
|Bulbul Cape||x||Goshawk African||Plover Grey||x||Thrush Olive||x|
|Bunting Cape||x||Goshawk Pale Chanting||Plover Kittlitz’s||x||Tit Grey|
|Bustard Denham’s||Grassbird Cape||Plover Ringed||x||Turnstone Ruddy|
|Buzzard Forest||Grebe Black-necked||x||Plover Three-banded||x||Turtle-dove Cape||x|
|Buzzard Jackal||x||Grebe Great Crested||x||Plover White-fronted||x||Vulture Cape|
|Buzzard Steppe||x||Grebe Little||x||Pochard Southern||Wagtail Cape||x|
|Canary Brimstone||Greenbul Sombre||Prinia Karoo||x||Warbler Victorin’s|
|Canary Cape||Greenshank Common||x||Quail Common||Warbler Willow|
|Canary Forest||Guineafowl Helmeted||x||Rail African||x||Waxbill Common|
|Canary Whitethroated||x||Gull Grey-headed||Raven White-necked||x||Waxbill Swee|
|Canary Black-headed||x||Gull Hartlaub’s||x||Reed-warbler African||Weaver Cape||x|
|Canary Yellow||x||Gull Kelp||x||Robin-chat Cape||x||Wheatear Capped||x|
|Chat Familiar||Hamerkop||Rock-jumper Cape||Whimbrel Common||x|
|Cisticola Cloud||Harrier Black||x||Rock-thrush Cape||White-eye Cape||x|
|Cisticola Grey-backed||Harrier-hawk African||Roller European||Whydah Pin-tailed|
|Cisticola Levaillant’s||x||Heron Black-headed||x||Ruff||x||Woodpecker Cardinal|
|Cisticola Zitting||Heron Goliath||Rush-warbler Little||x||Woodpecker Ground|
|Coot Red-knobbed||x||Heron Greenbacked||Sandpiper Common||x||Woodpecker Olive|
|Cormorant Bank||Heron Grey||x||Sandpiper Curlew||x|
|Cormorant Cape||x||Heron Purple||Sandpiper Wood||Total Seen||119|
|Cormorant Crowned||x||Heron Squacco||Saw-wing Black|
|Cormorant Reed||x||Honeybird Brown-backed||Scrub-robin Karoo||x|
|Cormorant White-breasted||x||Honeyguide Greater||Secretarybird|
|Coucal Burchell’s||Honeyguide Lesser||Seed-eater Streaky-headed|
|Crake Black||x||Hoopoe African||Shelduck South African|
|Crane Blue||x||Ibis African Sacred||x||Shoveler Cape||x|
|Crested-Flycatcher Blue-m||Ibis Glossy||x||Siskin Cape|
|Crombec Long-billed||Ibis Hadeda||x||Snake-Eagle Black-chested|
|Crow Cape||Kestrel Lesser||Snipe African|
|Crow Pied||x||Kestrel Rock||x||Sparrow Cape||x|
|Cuckoo Black||Kingfisher Brown-hooded||Sparrow House|
|Cuckoo Diederik||x||Kingfisher Giant||Sparrow S. Grey-headed||x|
|Cuckoo Klaas’||Kingfisher Malachite||Sparrowhawk Black|
|Cuckoo Red-chested||Kingfisher Pied||x||Sparrowhawk Rufous-chested|
|Cuckooshrike Black||Kite Black-shouldered||x||Spoonbil African||x|
|Curlew Eurasian||x||Kite Yellow-billed||x||Spurfowl Cape||x|
|Darter African||x||Knot Red||Starling Common||x|
|Dove Laughing||x||Lapwing Black-smith||x||Starling Pied||x|
|Dove Namaqua||x||Lapwing Crowned||Starling Red-winged|
|Dove Red-eyed||x||Lark Cape Clapper||Stilt Black-winged||x|
|Dove Rock||Lark Cape Long-billed||Stint Little||x|
|Dove Tambourine||Lark Largebilled||x||Stonechat African||x|
|Drongo Fork-tailed||Lark Redcapped||Stork White|
|Duck African Black||Lark Spike-heeled||Sugarbird Cape|
|Duck Fulvous||Longclaw Cape||x||Sunbird Amethyst|
|Duck Maccoa||Mallard||x||Sunbird Malachite||x|
|Duck White-backed||Marsh-Harrier African||x||Sunbird Orange-breasted|
|Duck White-faced||Martin Banded||x||Sunbird Souther Double-C||x|
|Duck Yellow-billed||x||Martin Brown-throated||x||Swallow Barn||x|
|Eagle Booted||x||Martin House||Swallow Greater Striped|
|Eagle Martial||Martin Rock||x||Swallow Pearl-breasted|
|Eagle Verreaux’s||Masked-weaver Southern||x||Swallow White-throated||x|
|Eagle-Owl Cape||Moorhen Common||x||Swamphen African Purple||x|
|Eagle-Owl Spotted||x||Mousebird Red-faced||Swamp-warbler Lesser||x|
|Egret Cattle||Mousebird Speckled||x||Swift African Black|
|Egret Great||Mousebird White-backed||x||Swift Alpine|
|Egret Little||x||Neddicky||Swift Common|
|Falcon Lanner||Night-Heron Black-crowned||Swift Little||x|
|Falcon Peregrine||Nightjar Fiery-necked||x||Swift White-rumped|
|Fiscal Common||x||Olive-pigeon African||Tchagra Southern|
|Fish-Eagle African||Ostrich Common||x||Teal Hottentot|
On the social side, we were, as usual, well catered for, with everybody putting in their particular contributions. It was a fun-filled outing and it provided an opportunity for getting to know more birds as well as each other!
Please don’t forget to contact Craig at email@example.com if you want to attend our year end function on 13 December. It will be a bring-and-braai as well as our annual photographic competition (see previous notice)
We have booked two sundowner trips on the River Rat at Stanford. Dates 23 and 24th January and we will set sail at 17h00. Ernie will be our Captain and is a very good birder himself so with our expertise and his, we are bound to have a good outing.
The cost is R135.00 per person – you will need to bring your own drinks and snacks and glasses.
If you would like to participate contact Craig on firstname.lastname@example.org – first come first served – each cruise only takes 12 people.
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