In the beginning of December, experts on marine conservation from HOS visited the area of Skala Kalloni, in Lesvos island. During a very interesting week, our team started working on our first seabird bycatch-related conservation actions under the framework of the LIFE PanPuffinus! project.

Mainly known for its sardines (locally called ‘papalina’), the Gulf of Kalloni is also an extremely important foraging site for the Yelkouan Shearwaters, since from January to April the sea turns "dark” from the large seabird flocks that visit the bay on a daily basis to feed.

On their return from their wintering grounds in the Black Sea, the Yelkouan Shearwaters find huge schools of anchovies in this gulf and hunt them in groups. These seabirds frantically pursuit their prey, following the schools even at shallow waters where, during their foraging dives, they can oftentimes get caught in trammel nets and drown.

Hauling net with contrast panel iSea cr  Talking to fishers Skala Kallonis Eleni Galinou cr

After two years of monitoring this phenomenon, in cooperation with local fishermen, we are now trialing mitigation methods for the first time in Greece which will hopefully reduce accidental bycatch of seabirds in nets! Specifically, the team of the Hellenic Ornithological Society (BirdLife Greece) and iSea placed black and white contrast panels on the trammels nets with the aim to make them more visible to the Yelkouan Shearwaters and therefore minimize bycatch.

2023 11 Testing Contrast Panels Lesvos Danae Portolou HOS 133 cr  Placing Contrast Panels on Nets iSea cr

However, to design a fishing gear that can be used on a larger scale with success, we must first make sure that it does not reduce the catch! The first results look positive and we are looking forward to our next visit where the proper experimental fishing trials will begin!

Stay tuned!


LIFE PanPuffinus logos ALL NEW
Reducing bycatch with the help of fishermen Georgia

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