Australian fishermen design water sprayer to help protect seabirds

A water sprayer in action in the South East Trawl fishery. Picture courtesy of the vessel Lady Miriam A water sprayer in action in the South East Trawl fishery. Picture courtesy of the vessel Lady Miriam

Australian fishermen operating in the South East Trawl fishery have come up with a new device to scare birds away from warp lines.

The team, which includes the owner of the South East Trawl boat Lady Miriam Tony Guarnaccia, the skipper, Trevor “Bluey” Hunt and his crew, along with Sot Sotirakis, an engineer and South East Trawl Operator, have designed and built a water sprayer to help stop seabirds becoming entangled in warp lines.

The water sprayer works by delivering a spray of water from a boom angled over the area where the warp wires enter the water, which is where the birds are at greatest risk. The birds avoid the jets of water and are less likely to be entangled in the warp wire.

The team has been developing the water sprayer and is continuing to collect information on its effectiveness to get the device assessed and available to other fishers who may wish to use it.

Australian Fisheries Management Authority CEO Dr James Findlay said that industry plays an important role in developing bycatch mitigation devices with a real understanding of how such devices can work in practical applications.

“It’s great when fishers like Tony and Bluey develop new and innovative ideas which help protect seabirds”, Dr Findlay said.

To see the water sprayer in action please click here.

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