Five endangered albatross killed in Bay of Plenty by longline fishing vessel

The deaths of five endangered albatross in a single incident off New Zealand shores has sparked a call from Forest and Bird to get cameras on boats so commercial fishing companies can be held responsible.

Five Antipodean albatrosses and one Gibson's albatross were killed after they were caught by a longline fishing vessel in the Bay of Plenty between December 2018 and January this year.

Forest & Bird Oceans Advocate Karen Baird says the deaths were discovered just 24 hours after it was revealed four Hector's dolphins were killed in a trawl net.

"Unless we fix our broken commercial fishing system, Antipodean albatross will be extinct within 20 years," she said.

"These needless and cruel deaths are appalling, and completely unacceptable."

Forest and Bird are now calling on the government to implement their Cameras on Boats programme so that more care will be taken for endangered species.

"MPI have pointed out that the fishing crew were operating entirely within the law. Imagine a law which permitted limitless accidental kakapo deaths at the hands of any industry," Ms Baird said.

"It is abundantly clear that a system which allows endangered species to be killed as 'incidental by-catch' by the fishing industry is completely broken.

"These albatross deaths are just the ones we know about. It is highly likely that many more deaths go unreported, and that New Zealand will be robbed of this majestic species by a few companies that only care about their own profit."

The Department of Conservation said in a 2017 survey the "steep and rapid decline" Antipodean albatross could lead to fewer than 500 breeding pairs in 20 years.

Antipodean albatross
An Antipodean albatross. Source: Getty