Hookpods: Preventing Seabird Bycatch
Avid bird watchers span the globe to see albatrosses and petrels in their natural habitats. Unfortunately, these seabirds are extremely vulnerable to large scale fishing efforts. Endangered albatrosses and other seabirds are accidentally killed in longline fisheries around the world. 15 of 22 species of albatross are threatened with extinction. It’s estimated that at least 160,000 seabirds are killed by longline fishing annually. In Brazil, tuna fishing is a major threat to seabirds and new measures are needed to improve upon the reductions already made.
Working with the Albatross Task Force of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), an international team of seabird bycatch mitigation experts, we raised funds to test a new technology, the Hookpods. The Hookpods were tested as a feasible, safe, and cost effective alternative to prevent seabird bycatch. With a protected barb and built in LED light, this method of bycatch prevention has been studied to be more effective than the current 3 methods recommended (night setting, bird scaring lines and weighting). A reusable LED light incorporated into the Hookpod prevented one-time use light sticks from being disposed of in the oceans, reducing the mass amounts of marine pollution.
“Plastic pollution in our oceans harms a wide range of marine biodiversity, and any initiative that has the potential to reduce it at source is very welcome. The development of alternatives to single use, disposable plastic items used at sea would make a valuable contribution to addressing this issue.” – Daniel Steadman, Program Manager, Marine Plastics Flora and Fauna International