High-flying spies: albatrosses help to expose illegal fishing

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High-flying spies: albatrosses help to expose illegal fishing

Fitted with specialist tech, 169 of the giant birds are patrolling the Southern Ocean in search of rogue trawlers

AFP

For the magnificent but maligned albatross, it was time for a little payback after centuries of insult and injury.

Snagged by longlines, tangled in nets, shot at by sailors, and scorned by poets as lazy or a bad omen, the world’s largest flying seabird is today a frontline agent in the fight against illegal fishing, according to a new study.

Indeed, a squadron of 169 albatross fitted with cutting-edge communications gear has revealed that a third of the vessels plying Antarctic waters below the Indian Ocean was very likely filling their hulls unlawfully with toothfish, ice fish, krill and other bounty from the icy waters...

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