Developing “Whale-safe” Fishing Gear
We are helping SMELTS build capacity for this work, interface with regulators and marine scientists, and develop ground-up support among fishermen for experimental use of the gear and feedback to SMELTS engineers for design improvements that will help the gear “fit” with the Northwest Atlantic’s unique and widely variable fishing conditions. Blue Planet Strategies and SMELTS are also working cooperatively with several other ropeless gear designers to develop testing and experimental use of their gear designs, because we believe there is likely more than one solution to the entanglement threat.
As part of this work, we are also researching the additional benefits of ropeless fishing technology and educating fishermen and the public about these benefits. At the 2019 world marine mammal conference in Barcelona we and colleagues presented a scientific poster, “Educating marine audiences on the advantages of ropeless fishing systems: emerging technologies offer benefits to whales and fishermen alike.