Birds can create significant challenges for the fisheries industry in Australia in a few ways:
Competition for food:
Many species of birds, such as seagulls and pelicans, compete with commercial and recreational fishers for food, particularly in coastal areas. This competition can reduce the amount of fish available for human consumption and lead to economic losses for the fishing industry.
Damage to fishing gear:
Some bird species, such as cormorants and pelicans, can damage fishing gear, such as nets and lines, as they attempt to catch fish. This can result in lost or damaged equipment and additional costs for fishers.
Depredation of farmed fish:
In some cases, bird species such as cormorants, pelicans, and seagulls, can prey on farmed fish, causing significant losses for aquaculture operators.
Impact on threatened species:
Certain bird species, such as the Australian pelican, are protected under Australian law due to their status as threatened or vulnerable species. However, these bird species can also cause significant damage to fishing operations, leading to conflicts between conservation efforts and the economic interests of the fishing industry.
To address these challenges, the fishing industry in Australia has implemented various measures, such as using bird-scaring devices, deploying nets and other protective barriers, and implementing fishing practices that minimize the risk of bird interactions. Additionally, wildlife management programs are implemented to protect threatened bird species while also minimising their impact on fishing activities.