What are you working on?
We are working to activate people to increase albatross populations in order to prevent them from tracking to extinction. There are solutions currently available to stop these birds getting caught on hooks by the longline fishing fleets which means our challenge is to get these fishermen to apply currently available technology to their fishing practices. Essentially it is our job to convince these organisations to put these methods into use and protect the albatross for future generations.
What is the DOC project all about?
Our project is a collaboration between the Department of Conservation, the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Southern Seabird Solutions Trust aiming to make the high seas a safer place for seabirds. Over the past 12 years, the Antipodean Wandering Albatross has lost 75% of the breeding population. Every year we are losing 1000 birds of this species on the international waters. These birds are unfortunately attracted to the longline fishing vessels baited fishing hooks which are causing a huge number of these beautiful birds to drown.
Like us as Pacific Navigators, these wandering antipodeans crossed the Pacific Ocean to call New Zealand home. They raise their families on our rocky shores and fly out for two years at a time to wander the South Pacific only to accidentally become caught by commercial fishing hooks, not making it home. Our focus is on China, Japan and Taiwan, as they are the three biggest longline fishing players. We aim to gain a deeper understanding of their fishing industries and surrounding cultures in order to discover how we may be able to affect change.
What are you hoping to achieve by the end of Lightning Lab GovTech?
Towards the end of the accelerator our team will have produced a detailed roadmap that will identify multiple strategies surrounding our issue which when actioned, will stop albatross decline and their inevitable extinction.
What are you looking forward to the most during your time here at Lightning Lab GovTech Accelerator?
The Safer Seas team is excited that the Lightning Lab GovTech accelerator has provided the focused space and support needed to give this critically endangered bird the attention needed to make real change. The fact that we are surrounded by many other teams working on such important issues also provides a real sense of motivation!
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