Incidental bycatch in fishery operations is a leading cause of population decline for many populations of seabirds. Additionally, indirect effects of fishing activities such as increased competition, behavioral changes, and dietary shifts may also impact the ecology and biology of seabirds.
The GEMM Lab works closely with colleagues in New Zealand (NIWA) to improve our understanding of seabird-fishery interactions. To date, this work has included documentation of overlap rates by fishery and fishing method, yearly variability in overlap rates, behavioral shifts by albatross when foraging in association with fishing vessels, impacts of association with fishing activities on diets and breeding success, and variable exposure to fishing activities by species, sex, and breeding phase. These results are helping managers to understand the broad impacts of fishing activities on seabirds and what regulations may reduce these impacts most effectively.