Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Posts Tagged ‘hooks’

August 27, 2008

Discarded fishing tackle a monumental mess

At IBRRC we’ve been witnessing first hand the mess that discarded fishing tackle causes on the lives of aquatic birds. Our recent response to brown pelicans in Santa Cruz and Monterey showed a high percentage of birds injured after being caught up in hooks and fishing line that are so much a part of the marine environment.

Not surprising there’s some disturbing statistics coming from the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project:

Since May 2006, the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project has retrieved nearly 11 tons of gear from around the California Channel Islands (Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa and Santa Catalina). As well, the project has cleaned more than 1400 pounds of recreational fishing gear off public fishing piers from Santa Cruz to Imperial Beach including more than 1 million feet of fishing line. Several of these piers now have fishing line recycling bins, to encourage proper disposal of unwanted hooks and microfilament. See the full report

And don’t even get us started on the mess that discarded plastics – including toys and cigarette lighters – leaves on the ocean. Read: Birds suffer as world’s oceans become a big garbage can

All is not lost: 10 Things You Can Do To Save the Oceans

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