Sunday 18th Nov, 2018

Science and innovation help protect seabirds


A RESEARCH project led by the commercial fishing industry has resulted in a 90% fall in seabird interactions during trials.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston, commended the leadership of the industry.


“Australia’s fishing industry is leading the way to protect our magnificent seabirds,” Minister Ruston said. “We want consumers to be confident that when they eat Australian seafood, it comes from the world’s most sustainably managed fisheries.”

South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association executive officer, Simon Boag, said the research was jointly funded by the commercial fishing industry, AFMA and the Australian Government.

“Two experimental devices, a bird baffler and a water sprayer, were trialled on board trawl fishing vessels working off the coast of Victoria and NSW, to see which was more effective at stopping seabirds from interacting with trawl fishing gear,” Mr Boag said.

“Both experimental mitigation devices showed significant reductions in the number of seabird interactions with the cables that tow the trawl net.”

SETFIA worked with AFMA, Fishwell Consulting, CSIRO’s Australian Antarctic Division, Oceanwatch Australia and the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, to develop the technology.

The findings were recently published in the Endangered Species Research Journal.

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