Cape Town - Albatrosses have been hammered by the fishing industry because the big birds, attracted to deep-sea trawlers in their thousands, become entangled in trawl nets, are dragged under the water and drown.
Now a few simple changes on board South African trawlers have reduced albatross death rates by a massive 99 percent.
Birdlife South Africa announced the conservation success story on Tuesday after a seven-year study by its staff and others who sailed on board trawlers to monitor the situation. Their research was published in the journal Animal Conservation on Tuesday.
Bronwyn Maree, leader of the albatross task force for Birdlife South Africa, said they had expected the protection measures would cause a drop in the seabird death rate, but not in such high numbers.
“It was a huge drop, so much so we had to relook at our data to make sure we had got it right. But it was right and it’s a fantastic result.”