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Subject: Swedish report on bycatches of guillemots
From: Cathy Hill <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 21 Aug 2000 14:09:00 +0200

text/plain (54 lines)

Common guillemots in the Baltic Sea suffer from bycatches in fishing gear

A new Swedish report analyses causes of mortality in the common guillemot
(Uria aalge) from the Baltic Sea. Nearly 43,000 of these seabirds were
ringed in Sweden from 1912 to 1998, mainly on the island of Stora Karlso in
the southern Baltic proper.

About 6 per cent (2,500 birds) were recovered. Of these, 50 per cent had
become entangled in fishing gear, mainly in the southern Baltic Sea. Bycatches
are probably underestimated, as many drowned seabirds may never be reported by
fishermen. Bycatches are thought to limit the development of the Baltic
population of common guillemots, as the survival of adults is lower than in
the nearby North Sea.

The main culprit appears to be the commercial drift-net fishery for Baltic
salmon (Salmo salar). The Baltic drift-net fishery developed on a large scale
after World War II. European Union regulations limit the length of drift nets
to 2.5 km per boat. However, an exception for the Baltic Sea allows each boat
to use up to 21 km of drift nets.

The report was published in July 2000 by the Swedish Environmental Protection
Agency in collaboration with WWF Sweden. The English press release can be
accessed via the Internet:

O. Olsson, T. Nilsson and T. Fransson (2000). Long-term study of mortality in
the common guillemot in the Baltic Sea. Analysis of 80 years of ringing data.
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Report 5057. (48 pp.)

Ordering address:
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency
Customer services
SE-106 48 Stockholm, Sweden
Email: [log in to unmask]

Dr Cathy Hill
Director, Oceans & Coasts Programme
Ulriksdals Slott
SE- 170 81 Solna
tel: +46-8-624 74 15
fax: +46-8-85 13 29
[log in to unmask]

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