Another experiment with feeding shoreline seabirds has failed in Darwin, Australia, Reuters reports. Like a popular arcade game in those days, it involves dangling dead birds out the window and watching them flutter in a massive circle. The Darwin Biomedical Research Institute hopes this approach — nicknamed Operation Chuckie — will encourage more shoreline seabirds to visit the harbor and feed in return for a catch of tuna and salmon, according to the story.
The idea is meant to conserve fish stocks in Darwin Harbour and to bring in more income from the harbour’s fishing sector. But scientists say the poor results suggests the seabirds may be endangered anyway, according to the report.
“From a sustainability and protection point of view, we have seen no relationship between the width of the circle and the hatchlings,” Chad Brown, a seabird specialist for University of Queensland, was quoted in the story. “Both chicks that survive and hatched in the circle have died within six days.”
Previously the experiment, in its first, failed year, by a ratio of 90 to 10, according to the report. The harbor has a population of 12,000 shoreline seabirds, Reuters reports. Local fisherman were also skeptical of this approach. In the project’s second attempt, between May and June this year, prawn fishermen hired to pull in tuna yielded at least three times as many fish as did the no-feed zone. Local tuna fishermen with a say in the experiment told the news outlet that as well as cut the weight of the fish they caught by more than two-thirds, they had to switch from fishing with live fish to using frozen, frozen, frozen.
The message in the Reuters story is clear: Careful! Think before you pick up your poo! Be careful out there!
Let’s hope this experiment has better results next time. But then there’s the sticking point: Many local fishermen said they were skeptical to begin with, and now don’t think they have enough data to bolster any claims that this approach is beneficial. We hope to have more information soon, so keep your eyes peeled for it.
Read the full story at Reuters.
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