Below are posted projects in need of funding. Click “I’m Interested!” to get in touch with the Bycatch Solutions Hub Manager and learn more about a specific project or see the workplan.
*All projects will include a service and hosting fee by SFP for associated work to be paid for by funding organization.
Chilean purse-seine fisheries are comprised of around 500 “artisanal” vessels (<18m in length). Historically, high bycatch rates of Pink-footed shearwater were observed in the area (>1,500), an Endangered in Chile. A modified version of the purse seine (MPS) has been developed through a collaboration between the fishing industry, BirdLife, and net makers, and has shown significant reduction of Pink-footed shearwater and Black-browed albatross bycatch.
In the MPS, sections of the net with high seabird entanglement rates need to be modified. This includes a novel buoy mounting method, adjusting the mesh size, and removing excessive netting material. Following these modifications, trials not only showed a 98% reduction in diving seabird bycatch but had no impact on target fish catch and even helped saving costs in net materials. This innovation was recognized as one of the best environmental initiatives in Latin America in 2017 (Premios Latinoamérica Verde).
This project will benefit artisanal fishermen that sell to Blumar Seafood in central Chile. Out of the total 25 purse-seiners managed by Blumar Seafood, 5 vessels have already gone through gear modification thanks to a project lead by BirdLife International and supported by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). This project will upgrade 5 additional purse-seiners targeting sardine and anchovy to continue efforts toward a total transformation of the artisanal fleet in south-central Chile with Modified Purse Seines (MPS).
In addition to the development of the MPS, this funding will support training workshops for captain and crew members, to provide expertise on the structural modification of the fishing gear and on the minimum standards and maintenance of modifications to secure best bycatch mitigation practices in this fishery.
This project also includes a committed matching contribution of $95,563 USD combined from Birdlife International and Blumar Seafood.
Contact the Bycatch Hub Manager for more specifics on the project workplan and a line-item budget.
Beneficiary: Birdlife International
- 5 Modified Purse Seines $99,579
Around 60% of global tropical tuna catches are from purse seine sets on drifting Fish Aggregation Devices (dFADs). However, they also are very good at attracting non-target endangered, threatened, and protected species in addition to tuna. Made of non-biodegradable plastic and netting that extends below the surface, dFADs are an entanglement risk to ETP species, especially sea turtles, sharks, and pelagic rays. Given the inherent nature of deploying dFADs in the open ocean, a majority become lost or abandoned. The fate of approximately 80% of deployed dFADs is unknown. Notably, 7% end up stranded each year.
Impacts caused by lost and abandoned dFADs are ghost fishing by the netting used in dFADs that extends below the surface of the ocean, accumulation of plastic at sea, and damage to vital habitats for fish and turtles, including coral reefs. To mitigate these risks, International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) scientists have worked with purse seine fleets to develop a biodegradable non-entangling dFAD called the jelly-FAD that eliminates the use of netting in the dFAD structure, biodegrades as fast as possible once their useful lifetime for fishing ends, and minimizes the use of plastic by replacing it with plant-based and other organic materials.
Through a collaboration with ISSF, this funding opportunity will provide workshops to participating vessels to develop region-specific jelly FADS. Crews will then be trained how to construct, deploy, and test the jelly FADs. Jelly-FAD deployments will then be monitored by fishers, who will record data on the performance of the jelly-FADs at sea (e.g., entanglement of ETP species) and provide feedback to ISSF to further improve bio-FAD designs. Jelly-FAD will be monitored for up to 11 months after deployment.
- Constructing and Deploying 50 Jelly FADs $50,000 USD
Set nets, particularly gillnets, are estimated to be responsible for 98% of the 600,000 marine mammals incidentally caught in fisheries each year. In Norway, the species most impacted is the harbour porpoise (Phocoena Phocoena). It is estimated that 2,871 harbour porpoises are caught each year in Norwegian gillnet fisheries, with 1,127 (39%) of these attributed to gillnet fisheries targeting Atlantic cod.
This project is designed to address dolphin and porpoise bycatch in the Norwegian Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) gillnet fishery through the increased implementation of acoustic pingers. The Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR) has conducted multiple trials that resulted in between 70-100% reduction in bycatch rates of harbour porpoise in Norwegian gillnet fisheries which led to their mandated use. However, compliance rates are low, mainly due to the financial costs of purchasing and installing the pingers.
This funding opportunity will provide 500 Fishtek banana acoustic pingers to Atlantic cod gillnet vessels for the 2024 and 2025 fishing seasons. Through a collaboration with IMR, the 500 pingers will be installed on approximately 50 vessels who have agreed to continued monitoring of the equipment and post season surveys to provide feedback that can be used to increase operational success of the pingers while continuing to reduce dolphin and porpoise bycatch in the region.
- Outfit 50 Vessels with Acoustic Pingers 59,745
The Vietnam tuna handline/longline fishery primarily targets yellowfin tuna but also includes commercial catch of bigeye tuna, swordfish, blue marlin, striped marlin and wahoo from the western and central Pacific Ocean. During the FIP pre-assessment, they also documented bycatch interactions with sharks, rays, and sea turtles that get caught on the baited hooks.
Working with the Vietnamese fisheries association VINATUNA and FIP manager Sea Delight, this funding opportunity will reduce bycatch impacts on sharks, rays and sea turtles utilizing a comprehensive approach. This project will support best handling and release training workshops for 240 vessel captains and bycatch monitoring workshops for 40 port observers, expansion of the newly initiated at sea monitoring devices (COPPA), distribution of 1-year of circle hooks for 250 vessels (recognized best practice), and the printing and posting of Western Pacific Ocean Key Species and Discard Release posters on vessels and at major landing ports.
Trainings for both vessel captains and portside observers, informational posters, and expansion of the COPPA program will have long-term impacts on bycatch reduction in the fishery while circle hooks will immediately reduce bycatch rates for sharks, rays, and sea turtles. Additional support to provide a second year of circle hooks is possible and recommended.
Click "I'm Interested" to contact the Bycatch Solutions Hub for more details.
- Comprehensive Bycatch Reduction Project $51,127 USD
- Additional Year of Circle Hooks $12,570 USD
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
The CanFISH Gear Lending program is a fisheries assistance program that provides ropeless systems free of charge to fishers in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia, Canada, during temporary closures designed to protect North Atlantic Right Whales. Through this service, CanFISH is protecting the Canadian crab fishing industry and the snow crab harvester’s way of life, while promoting safe fishing methods for the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale (NARW).
This funding opportunity will provide essential assistance to the CanFISH program by supporting operational costs, specifically for monitoring gear sets, training, servicing and transportation of gear, storage and overhead costs so more ropeless systems can get to fishermen in the 2024 snow crab season.
Beneficiary: Canadian Wildlife Federation
- Program Operational Support $60,000
The Eastern Pacific Longline Large Pelagics FIP targets yellowfin tuna, mahi mahi, and swordfish in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Panama. The FIP has committed to implementing multiple bycatch mitigation methods and best practices but do not have a monitoring system sufficient to collect data on their effectiveness.
SFP will work with Martec (manages the FIP) to implement electronic monitoring (EM) on 3 vessels for 1 year. The EM will confirm vessels are utilizing the committed best practices and collect data on bycatch interactions (interaction rate, species involved, release condition). This will greatly improve efforts to reduce bycatch impacts throughout the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
The funding will be used to purchase the 3 EM systems, year round data analysis, and a stipend for fishermen to compensate for the impacts to fishing efficiency of the transition. More details available upon request.
Beneficiary: Eastern Pacific Longline Large Pelagics FIP
- EM Implementation Support: $38,850 FUNDED
This funding opportunity provided equipment to the NEFSC gear library to fully outfit 6 vessels for ropeless fishing. This includes 2 ropeless systems (MOBI units), a deck box transducer, and gear tracking software for each vessel.
North Atlantic right whales (NARW) are the world’s most critically endangered large whale species, with less than 350 animals alive today. The threat to whales is the line of rope that extends from the trap on the seafloor to the buoy on the surface; whales are not able to detect this thin line, and can swim into it, becoming entangled. Ropeless, on-demand fishing technologies offer a solution by removing buoy lines from the water column except when gear is actively retrieved.
NOAA has a “gear library” program that accepts donations of ropeless gear for fishermen to pilot and test. It is critical for fishermen to participate in gear trials to develop systems that operate efficiently in challenging oceanographic conditions. Participating in pilot projects will also begin to get fishermen more comfortable with the gear, and give them the ability to provide feedback to customize the gear.
Beneficiary: NEFSC On-Demand Gear Library
- Ropeless Gear Donation: $83,250 Funded