Hooked a Bird?

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations California Saltwater Fishing

Even the Best Fishermen Can Accidentally Hook Seabirds

In the unfortunate event of a hooked seabird, don’t cut or break the line. If the bird is injured or severely tangled, the bird could easily drown, die of starvation or succumb to a predator attack. If you do accidentally hook a seabird while fishing, do the following to avoid further injury to the bird or yourself:

  • Reel the bird in slowly and gently. Don’t lift the bird by the line; instead use a dip net if available.
  • Get control of the bird’s bill before taking it from the net to prevent being pecked. Cover its head and eyes with a cloth to calm it (do not obstruct breathing), and keep the wings folded in their normal closed position. Always maintain control of the bird’s head and body.
  • When removing the hook from a seabird, never simply grab the hook and yank it out! Grasp the hook and carefully snip off the barb. You can back the hook out without caus­ing further injury. Cut off and remove any tangled fishing line, and carefully release the seabird.
  • If the bird has swallowed the hook, untangle the bird while removing as much line as possible. Cut the fishing line as close to the hook as you can, and leave the hook in place.
  • If the bird is seriously injured, is deeply hooked, or a hook has been swallowed, keep the bird calm and restrained. Call a local wildlife care facility. You can visit the CDFW website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Laboratories/Wildlife-Investigations/Rehab/Facilities for a list of regional wildlife rehabilitation facilities.

Notice courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Healthy Seabirds, Healthy Oceans

Special Closures protect seabirds and marine mammals from close-approaching watercraft.

Know Before You Go! Special Closures are closed to all watercraft.

Follow these tips to minimize your impact:

  • Stay at least 1,000 feet from cliffs, rocks and islands
  • Dispose of fishing line, hooks, lures and extra bait properly.
    Do not throw anything overboard
  • Steer around, not through floating flocks of seabirds
  • If birds begin to flutter wings, move away, you are too close
  • Avoid shining bright lights at cliffs and islands where seabirds nest

Why? The productive marine environment off the California coast is a feeding, breeding and resting area for hundreds of thousands of seabirds. Seabirds nest on offshore rocks, islands and steep mainland cliffs in order to avoid predators. Many seabird species lay only one egg a year, or even every other year. This low reproductive rate makes seabirds extremely vulnerable. Getting too close to seabirds in a boat or on foot may disrupt breeding and feeding or harm seabirds and their chicks.

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