Banana Pingers to reduce bycatch
The Banana Pinger
All vessels over 12m operating in certain waters around the UK now have two months to demonstrate compliance with an existing EU regulation to reduce cetacean bycatch, effective from 1 July 2013.
The regulation requires the reduction of cetacean bycatch through the use of acoustic devices, also known as pingers, that are attached to nets. Pingers have been shown to be effective at reducing the bycatch of the short-beaked common dolphin and harbour porpoise (the two species of highest risk).
Early trials of other makes of pinger on the market raised concerns over operational difficulties and safety, which prompted Fishtek Marine, based in Devon, UK to develop an effective pinger designed to resolve these problems, whilst also being more affordable for skippers.
The result was the Banana Pinger (BP-FR), which is said to be the safest and most effective way of becoming compliant with this new legislation, at very low cost. The Banana Pinger has been extensively trialled within the industry over the last two years and has been proven to be 82% effective at keeping porpoises away from nets.
The regulation applies all year round in ICES Area IV to all EU vessels of 12m or over, using bottom set gill or entangling nets, with a mesh size of 220mm or more. It also applies in Area IV between 1 August and 31 October for 12m and over vessels using nets of 400m in length or less, of any mesh size.
Enforcement will be carried out by Marine Enforcement Officers, together with Royal Navy fisheries protection vessels.