$20,000 prize for bycatch reduction solutions

The NPF Industry Pty Ltd (NPFI) is offering $20,000 in prize money for skippers, owners or crew who can develop strategies to help reduce bycatch in the Commonwealth Northern Prawn Fishery by 30% within three years.

The industry incentive program is part of the NPF Bycatch Strategy 2015-18, which focuses on improvements in gear design and bycatch reduction device performance.

“We hope offering a generous cash prize will provide an added incentive for the fishing industry to take on and support this important program,” said NPFI chief executive officer, Annie Jarrett. “Reducing bycatch by 30% in the NPF within three years is an achievable goal, particularly with the support of vessels in the fishery.”

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority’s Northern Fisheries senior manager, Steve Bolton, agreed that continually developing solutions to improve bycatch reduction is an important part of fisheries management.

 “Reducing bycatch is critical for the fishery and AFMA encourages operators to use their skills and knowledge to help meet this challenge”, Mr Bolton said.

To be eligible to win prize money the performance of any new innovations will be measured and tested against a set of criteria. This will include having the performance validated by scientific trials in accordance with NPF turtle excluder devices (TED) and bycatch reduction device (BRD) testing protocols.

The winners will be announced in March 2017. The NPF is committed to implement measures which achieve the 30% bycatch reduction target by 1 August 2018.

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