Gillnets

Northern Atlantic Ocean

Gillnets are designed to trap fish that swim into them, which become increasingly entangled as they fight to get out. They are either tethered into the substrate (set gillnets) or attached to buoys and float at a specific depth (drift gillnets).

Map of Northern Atlantic Ocean
Gillnet underwater

Target Species

Groundfish

Salmon

Bycatch Species

Marine Mammals

Sea Turtles

Sharks and Rays

Solutions

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Gears and Best Practices

Acoustic Pingers

Acoustic pingers serve as a marine mammal deterrent device in net fisheries by emitting a sound that can be detected within a certain distance of the net. Implementation of acoustic pingers in gillnet fisheries has become widespread over the last decade, especially in the northern Atlantic, where it is required by law in numerous fisheries.

Fishery Type

Gillnets

Ocean Region

Eastern Pacific Ocean, Northern Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean

Target Species

Atlantic Cod, Groundfish, Hake, Tuna

Bycatch Species

Marine Mammals

Gears and Best Practices

Net Lights

Net lights are LED lights attached directly to fishing nets, most commonly in gillnet fisheries, that serve to illuminate the top of the net making it more noticeable to bycatch.

Fishery Type

Gillnets

Ocean Region

Indian Ocean, Eastern Pacific Ocean, Northern Atlantic Ocean

Target Species

Atlantic Cod, Groundfish, Hake, Tuna

Bycatch Species

Marine Mammals, Sea Turtles

Gears and Best Practices

Smart Buoys

Smart buoys provide constant location information so that gear can be tracked remotely, which helps fishers locate gear if it has come loose or moved in a storm. Importantly, it also can alert fishers when buoy lines are being dragged, for example provide continuous real-time location data of entangled whales which would greatly increase disentanglement success.

Fishery Type

Gillnets, Longline, Pots/Traps, Purse Seine

Ocean Region

Indian Ocean, Eastern Pacific Ocean, Northern Pacific Ocean, Western Pacific Ocean, Southern Atlantic Ocean

Target Species

Atlantic Cod, Hake, American Lobster, Tuna

Bycatch Species

Marine Mammals, Sea Turtles, Seabirds, Sharks and Rays

Funding Opportunities

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Fisheries

Longline, Gillnets

Species Impacted

Sea Turtles, Seabirds, Sharks and Rays, Marine Mammals

Target Species

Swordfish

Description

The Swordfish Deep Buoy Set Gear (DBSG) experimental fishery is a low-bycatch alternative to traditional commercial gear targeting swordfish, pelagic longlines and drifting gillnets.  DSBG reduces bycatch by setting beneath the thermocline, where non-targeted species are uncommon, and promoting the removal of high-risk traditional longline and gillnet fisheries.

A major challenge in the DBSG fishery is the ability to locate the gear in rough or foggy conditions, and at night.  By using smart buoys, fishers will always know exactly where their lines are and can quickly recover them.  This not only prevents any from being lost, but drastically decreases the amount of time spent looking for gear, increasing catch rates.  In addition, they do not have to keep gear in sight which improves the fishing experience by decreasing their exposure to dangerous conditions on deck. Last swordfish season, 2022-23, three vessels fished successfully using smart buoys and more vessels have requested interest in adopting the technology.

This funding opportunity fully outfits two swordfish DSBG vessels registered to an Experimental Fishing Permit off the coast of southern California with Blue Ocean Gear Farallon Smart Buoys.  Each vessel will receive ten Smart Buoys and 1 Wireless Charger, a software plan, initial training in their use, and technical support throughout the fishing season, September 2023 to March 2024.  Updates will be provided after implementation, after the season, and the beginning of the next season in the fall of 2024.

Click "I'm Interested" to contact the Bycatch Solutions Hub for more details.

Beneficiary: Blue Ocean Gear

  • Fully Outfit 4 DSBG Vessels $27,750 USD
Gillnet underwater

The Problem

Gillnets fish indiscriminately and drown nearly any air-breathing animal that becomes entangled. Their lethality combined with the high levels of use, has led to very high ETP bycatch mortality rates in gillnets globally, particularly for marine mammals and sea turtles.