New net casting plan after St Ives bird deaths

Dead auks (pic: Wildlife VIC)
Image caption Birds collected from a local beach had drowned, the RSPB said

Fishermen in west Cornwall are volunteering to cast their nets in the dark in order to protect local birds.

They said it was to avoid a repetition of an incident which killed about 200 seabirds off St Ives at the weekend.

The birds died after becoming trapped in fishing nets off Clodgy Point on Saturday.

The Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (CIFCA) said the new measure would prevent the birds getting caught in the nets.

CIFCA's chairman, Tony Tomlinson, said: "I think the fisherman have accepted responsibility and look forward to fishing in a friendly way that saves the birds from being killed and hopefully not a great loss to themselves."

The authority said the nets were away from an area of St Ives Bay where fishermen were banned from netting.

Tony Whitehead, from the RSPB, said: "Seabirds don't feed at night. If the nets are set late in the day and there overnight, and collected early the next morning there shouldn't be an issue.

"Some of the nets are staying out a long time, and the birds are getting caught in them."

The charity said that onshore winds and a rise in fish numbers had caused more birds to be in the area.

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