FCF Hosts A Workshop for Promoting Seabird By-catch Mitigation Measure “Hookpod”

Kaohsiung city, Taiwan (December 24, 2021)- Last month, FCF Co., Ltd. (FCF) hosted a workshop with interested supply chain vessel owners and the Taiwan-based consultant of Hookpod Ltd., to discuss hookpod trials in global Longline fisheries.

Seabird is considered one of the mostly encountered by- catch species in pelagic longline fisheries and almost half of all seabird species are under threat. The albatross family is especially imperiled, with 15 of 22 species threatened with extinction. Fortunately, the RFMOs and many authorities have developed seabird by-catch mitigation measures and cooperate with the industries to solve this problem. For instance, the Western and Central Pacific Commission (WCPFC) has adopted relevant conservation management measure (CMM) to require longline vessels to implement mitigation practices such as, weighted branch lines, tori lines, night setting and hook-shielding devices (subject to different fishing areas) to protect the seabirds.

Recently, some scientific research have also suggested that “hookpod”, the emerging technology designed to reduce seabirds by- catch is as effective, or more effective, than current mitigation measures including the combination of line weighting and tori lines. This hook-shielding device is considered to meet Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) ‘best practice’ criteria based on its hook-shielding attributes, weight and sink rate, and the minimum depth at which the hook is released.

As one of the world’s largest marine products supplier, FCF has participated in fishery sustainability for years and reducing by-catch is part of FCF blueprint. FCF supports any best practice regarding to by-catch mitigation that is scientifically proven to be effective. On November 25th, FCF even held a workshop, inviting Keith Barnes, the consultant of Hookpod Ltd., to introduce their devices to the FCF tuna long-liner department and sustainability team, and several Taiwan-based vessel owners.

According to Keith, the hookpod encases the point and barb of longline hooks during line setting, and thus prevents seabirds from being hooked during this period. Furthermore, the devices can also release hooks from their protective container at a depth of 10-20m, ensuring that the baited hooks are released beyond the foraging depth of most seabirds.

In the meeting, FCF and Hookpod Ltd. encouraged the supply chain partners to participate in a future trial project,  jointly exploring the possibility of adopting the device in Taiwan longline fishery and reducing the seabird by-catch with a scientifically proven approach.

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