Seabird bycatch data goes public

27 February, 2013

Observed seabird captures in New Zealand trawl fisheries during the 2010–11 fishing year. - credit: CC-BY Dragonfly Science

Fisheries observer data on the capture of seabirds in New Zealand trawl and longline fisheries from 2002–03 to 2010–11 have recently been made available through a web interface.

The website was developed by Dragonfly for the Ministry for Primary Industries and is searchable by year, species, region and fishing method, with results displayed in a clear graphical format.

The data have also been provided and can be exported, for those who want to analyse it themselves, or who want to use the data for other purposes.

Example pages include the capture of New Zealand white-capped albatross in squid trawl fisheries, showing a decline in capture rates since the introduction of mandatory warp mitigation in January 2006; or black petrel captures in bottom-longline fisheries, showing observed captures centered on the Hauraki Gulf. In addition to reporting observed captures, estimates of total seabird captures were made at the species level for sooty shearwater, white-chinned petrel, and white-capped albatross. Estimates of total captures were also generated for captures of other albatrosses and other birds.

“Having this information out there in the public domain is something I feel quite strongly about. This is information that potentially has high public interest and should help inform the debate about seabird bycatch,” says Edward.

The release of the data was enabled by NZGOAL, the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework, which seeks to make government data available so that it can be re-used. The data are copyright Ministry for Primary Industries and are licensed under a creative commons attribution 3.0 New Zealand license. In essence, this allows the data to be used for any other purpose and republished, provided that attribution is given. Similarly, the graphics from the site may be used in publications or in other contexts, provided that appropriate attribution is given.

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