Winning ‘smart’ fishing gear announced – Fishupdate.com

Winning ‘smart’ fishing gear announced Published:  27 April, 2005

CONSERVATION group WWF has announced the winners of a competition to design new fishing gear that prevents accidental maiming and killing of marine mammals, sea turtles and juvenile fish. The International Smart Gear competition was launched in response to the growing issue of bycatch, which is responsible for massive cetacean and other sensitive species loss around the world.

The three winning ideas included a new weighting technique for longline fishermen to minimise bycatch of sea turtles and new type of net that allows cetaceans to detect and avoid it more easily.

WWF and other organisations will now help the winning designs become commercially viable and practical.

“These solutions safeguard our living oceans,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO-elect, WWF. “When World Wildlife Fund began the Smart Gear competition, we looked for real-world solutions to protect the fantastic variety of marine life, increase efficiency and profitability for fishermen, and preserve the bounty of the sea for future generations.”

“While it’s obvious how vital the ocean’s been to me, we’re all dependent on an ocean full of life and, in turn, it’s dependent on our actions,” said grand prize winner Steve Beverly, fisheries development officer for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. “It’s just common sense to create smarter fishing gear.”

“Reducing wasteful practices like bycatch is essential to the health of our oceans and a win-win proposition for fishermen, fish stocks and our marine ecosystems,” said Malcolm McNeill, a judge in the competition and vessel manager of global fishing company Sealord Group Ltd.

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