Friday, September 18, 2020

Why we need cameras on boats

In case anyone needed further convincing, there's another example today of why we need cameras on fishing boats: reported seabird bycatch doubled during a camera trial:

Commercial fishers operating off Auckland's coast around vulnerable seabirds are twice as likely to report accidentally capturing them when cameras are on board.

That's according to a trial where bottom-longline fishers voluntarily carried cameras on their boats to see how practices affected the nationally vulnerable black petrel - the species most at risk from commercial fisheries in New Zealand.

A Fisheries NZ report on the trial, over 2016/2017, found seabird captures on the pilot fleet, operating in the Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Plenty, was around twice as high when the vessels had cameras on board than when they were without cameras.

It is highly unlikely that these boats were accidentally catching seabirds twice as often only when cameras were on board. Instead, it seems more likely that they were always catching this many, and simply not reporting it. Which is a crime, and something we should be trying to prosecute them for.