A Longline Fishing Victim from Indian Pelagic Waters

Submitted by Shivashankar
Shivashankar

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

This is perhaps the first documented instance of an avian victim due to this fishing practice from Indian waters. Since pelagic birds of this region are less studied, this might not be a one-off incidence and perhaps a more regular one.

Longline fishing is a commercial oceanic fishing technique which uses a long line, called the main line, with baited hooks attached at intervals by means of branch lines called snoods. A snood is a short length of line, attached to the main line using a clip or swivel, with the hook at the other end. Hundreds or even thousands of baited hooks can hang from a single line (Wikipedia). In India, there are top-driven programmes to promoting this technique to train the fishermen mainly targeting Tuna fisheries. Elsewhere, longline fishing has been attributed to the death of several seabirds (Brothers et al. 2010), a majority of them Albatross (Family Diomedeidae).

In March 2012, off the SW coast of India, a Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus) was photographed with a longline fishing thread hanging from its beak – the bird had probably swallowed the bait, and the hook probably got stuck in its neck. This is perhaps the first documented instance of an avian victim due to this fishing practice from Indian waters. Since pelagic birds of this region are less studied, this might not be a one-off incidence and perhaps a more regular one.



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