Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Posts Tagged ‘fishing line’

June 2, 2009

Fishing line injury study: Pelicans most affected

A recent study has concluded, not surprising, that pelicans suffer the most fishing line injuries. Over 30% of the animals harmed by fish hooks and entangled fishing line were Brown Pelicans.

The report was published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 45(2), 2009, pp. 355–362. The report was authored by Brynie Kaplan Dau including contributors, Jay Holcomb of Bird Rescue, Kirsten V. K. Gilardi and Michael H. Ziccardi of UC Davis’ Wildlife Health Center.

The study says that pelican injuries caused by fishing gear were most common in the Monterey Bay region, where 59.6% of the pelicans rescued and admitted to a rehabilitation center were injured by fishing gear over the 6-yr period.

The highest prevalence of fishing gear–related injury in gulls was documented in the Los Angeles/Orange County region (16.1%), whereas the highest prevalence is in pinnipeds (elephant and harbor seals) were seen in the San Diego region (3.7%).

A total of 9,668 cases were included in this study, of which 1,090 (11.3%) were fishing gear–related injuries.

To reduce risk of injury and death for coastal marine wildlife and people, the SeaDoc Society, a marine ecosystem health program of the University of California Davis Wildlife Health Center, launched the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project in 2005. To date, more than 11 tons of lost fishing gear have been removed from near shore marine waters surrounding the Channel Islands, and hundreds of pounds of recreational fishing gear (such as fishing line and hooks, tackle, and ropes) have been cleaned off public-access fishing piers.

To prevent the accumulation of discarded gear at these piers, mono-filament disposal stations have been established on many coastal public piers.

The paper was published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases. Read the abstract

August 8, 2008

Fishing pier finally closed at Capitola Wharf

After pressure from locals and wildlife rescuers, the Capitola Wharf was finally shutdown for fishing in an effort to prevent pelicans from becoming entangled in fishing line and hooks.

IBRRC has been rescuing a lot of young brown pelicans along Santa Cruz County beaches after thousands of the birds descended on area fishing areas. The cement ship fishing pier in Aptos was closed earlier in the week to prevent more carnage as pelicans got tangled in fishing lines and were snared by long line fish hooks.

See the ABC-TV report

Read earlier post: Crisis continues for Brown Pelicans along coast

August 7, 2008

Crisis continues for Brown Pelicans along coast

In the last few days our Northern California rehabilitation center, located in Fairfield, received another 25 brown pelicans from the Santa Cruz area. That makes a total of 137 pelicans this year in Northern California alone and 115 of those pelicans have come in since June 15th! Until recently they have been mostly young birds that are learning to fish and are feeding on large schools of anchovies and sardines that are moving along the California coastline. As of today, more than 30 of the birds that have come to our center are suffering from injuries due to fishing hooks and monofilament line entanglement.

Overview of the Current Crisis Situation

For those of you that don’t remember, in 2002 IBRRC received 200 injured pelicans from Santa Cruz within a month because large numbers of brown pelicans were feeding on anchovies under the Santa Cruz piers. Fisherman fishing from the piers can catch up to five small fish at a time by basically creating a long line system where each line has up to five leads with hooks on the ends of them. The lines are dropped from very high piers and are often pulled up with up to 5 wiggling fish on them. Pelicans see this as a free meal and grab them, becoming entangled. The fishermen get annoyed, cut the lines and then the pelicans are found on the wharf and local beaches with injuries and entanglements. This is happening right now!

In 2002 IBRRC worked with local government and California Fish & Game to temporarily close the Santa Cruz wharf to fishing until the bait fish moved out of the area. This tactic was successful and ended the fishing tackle entanglements. We are again asking the regulatory agencies to temporarily close these areas to fishing. This year the problem is much worse as three different piers are being used for fishing and literally thousands of brown pelicans are feeding on the fish. Two of the piers are now closed but one remains open to fishing. One fisherman complained to reporters that he is catching a pelican every 20 minutes and cutting the line.

Media report: ABC-TV: Pelicans getting fatally snared in Capitola

IBRRC as the Hub for west coast pelican rehabilitation

IBRRC has the largest facilities and most advanced program for pelican and sea bird rehabilitation along the west coast of the US. Each of our rehabilitation centers is equipped with a one hundred foot long pelican flight aviary. These aviaries are specifically built for pelicans and provide them flight rehabilitation. Each aviary can hold up to 75 birds at a time and both are in full use right now.

Your support is desperately needed

As I write this appeal there are 70 brown pelicans at our Northern California center, in Fairfield, receiving treatment for fishing tackle injuries and other problems and an equal amount at our Southern California facility in San Pedro. Each pelican eats up to 5 pounds of fish a day. The low estimate of a single pelican’s cost to rehabilitate is $20.00 per day. In truth, the cost is much more for those that require antibiotics and further care. I am asking for your financial support again to help us in this crisis situation.

We have set up many ways for our supporters to contribute. Donations in any amount you wish are always welcome. You may Adopt a Pelican or become a Pelican Partner. Becoming a Pelican Partner provides you with the opportunity to receive a private tour of one of our facilities and join our staff or volunteers at the release of the pelican that you have adopted and helped. I urge you to help us rehabilitate these pelicans. Share this information with friends and encourage their involvement. Help us: Adopt-a-Pelican or Donate

Thank you from all the staff and volunteers at IBRRC for your help.

Jay Holcomb

Executive Director
International Bird Rescue Research Center, IBRRC

August 5, 2008

More pelicans tangled in fishing line & hooks

IBRRC admitted nine pelicans from Santa Cruz yesterday. Each one was suffering injuries from entanglement in fishing line and hooks. While it is not surprising for the marine and aquatic bird specialists to receive large numbers of pelicans in a day, especially this time of year, the oddity is that these casualties of fishing had come from one area, Santa Cruz.

They have seen this before. Back in 2002, International Bird Rescue received 200 young pelicans from Santa Cruz within a one-month period. They found that fishermen off Santa Cruz Pier, at the wharf, were targeting schooling anchovies using what’s called a longline – one strand of fishing line with multiple hooks. As the fishermen reel in their wriggling fish, pelicans, mostly young, inexperienced birds, grab the prey and become snared in the line. The lines often break or they are cut. The pelicans fly off trailing line and often with imbedded hooks. In 2002 state agencies closed the wharf temporarily until the bait-fish moved on. Read news article

Yesterday, rescuers confirmed sightings of this type of fishing going on off the cement ship at Seacliff Beach in Capitola and off of the Santa Cruz Pier. Dead pelicans were washing up snared in line, and a number of still flighted birds were spotted entangled and in need of help. Update: California Fish & Games has reportedly closed Seacliff Pier (the cement ship area) to fishing.

Today, rescuers will return to the area to try and catch the injured animals. Help is expected from the California Department of Fish & Game and US Fish & Wildlife Services in dealing with this matter. Citizens are being asked to report sightings to local rescuers – they can find contact information through a toll-free wildlife hotline for California 866-WILD-911 or by calling rescue coordinator Rebecca Dmytryk, 831-869-6241. PLEASE DO NOT CALL IBRRC! Thanks.

Also see:

Fishing around pelicans: Some suggestions

Adopt-a-Pelican

June 7, 2008

Second time around for 12-year-old Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron has been in care multiple times.

12 years later after release: Great Blue Heron is back in care for fishing line injuries.

Jay Holcomb, IBRRC’s Executive Director reports on a 12-year-old Great Blue Heron that has been given two chances at surviving in this rough and tumble world:

“Back on July 23, 1996 a Great Blue Heron, tangled in fishing line with fishing hooks embedded in its wing was captured and brought to the Alexander Lindsay Museum in Walnut Creek, CA. The young hatching bird was stabilized and treated for puncture wounds from hooks and abrasions from entanglement in fishing line.

The following day the bird was brought to the International Bird Rescue Research Center’s old aquatic bird rehabilitation facility in Berkeley, CA. The bird was put on a regimen of antibiotics and treated for its wounds. It’s recovery was quick and the bird did well. On July 29, 1996 the bird was banded with a small medal federal leg band (#0977-04747) and released in the Suisun Marsh.

Twelve years later on May 28, 2008, the same Great Blue Heron, now an adult but still wearing band number 0977-04747, was again found entangled in fishing line and fish hooks and was captured at a marina in Oakley, near Concord, CA. The bird was brought to the Lindsay Museum who, again, did an excellent job of stabilizing it and removing the fish hooks and line that were tangled around its wing and leg.

The bird was then transferred to IBRRC’s new facility in Cordelia, CA. As before, it was treated for its wounds, held a week or so and on June 5, 2008 it was released healthy and strong back into the Suisun Marsh.

California has a number of prestigious wildlife rehabilitation organizations that remain open 365 days a year to provide shelter and state of the art care for sick and injured native wildlife. The Lindsay Museum and IBRRC are two of those organizations and are considered leaders in the unique field of wildlife rehabilitation. Both organizations have worked in tandem for years to support each to provide the best care for local wildlife. IBRRC specializes in aquatic bird rehabilitation and has specialized facilities to achieve this.

The Lindsay Museum cares for many species of native wildlife including raptors, passerines, terrestrial mammals and reptiles. When IBRRC receives an owl or occasional mammal for care, we send them on to the museum for rehabilitation. In turn, they send us the aquatic birds that can benefit from our program and specialized facility.

Together we have helped hundreds of animals by cooperating with each other and putting the needs of the animals first. Great Blue Heron, band number 0977-04747, is a testament to this important relationship and the dedication of these two organizations.

IBRRC wants to acknowledge and thank all the staff and volunteers at both organizations for their ongoing cooperation and life saving efforts. Great Blue Heron, band 0977-04747, has been given two chances to go back to the wild and live its life, because of your efforts. This is your achievement and your reward for your time well spent. Enjoy it!”

Also see:

Lindsay Museum information

How discarded fishing tackle affects Pelicans and other birds