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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

Avoid Hotspots

Hotspots are areas that have a higher abundance of bycatch taxa where it is more likely to have high bycatch rates if fishing is conducted. It is a best practice to avoid setting fishing gear in these locations.

Fishery Type

Gillnets, Longline, Purse Seine, Trawls

Ocean Region

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

Target Species

American Lobster, Dungeness Crab, Mahi, Swordfish, Tuna

Bycatch Species

Marine Mammals, Sea Turtles, Seabirds, Sharks and Rays

Gears and Best Practices

Backdown Method

The backdown method is conducted after setting the purse seine net but before finishing the haul. This process creates a channel and an opening at the back of the net where non-target species (especially small cetaceans and sea turtles) can escape at the surface.

Fishery Type

Purse Seine

Ocean Region

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

Target Species

Salmon, Tuna

Bycatch Species

Marine Mammals, Sea Turtles, Sharks and Rays

Gears and Best Practices

Circle Hooks

In circle hooks, the pointed tip is bent back towards the shaft decreasing the spacing between the sharpened tip and shaft and changing the hook angle. The shape of the circle hook makes it harder for ETP bycatch to get hooked due to differences in jaw morphologies, but doesn’t impact catch rates in fish and can even in some cases increase catch rates.

Fishery Type

Longline

Ocean Region

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

Target Species

Mahi, Swordfish, Tuna

Bycatch Species

Marine Mammals, Sea Turtles

Gears and Best Practices

Decreased Soak Times

Soak time is the amount of time that deployed fishing gear stays in the water. The longer the gear is set in the water, the higher the bycatch rate will be.

Fishery Type

Gillnets, Longline, Purse Seine, Trawls

Ocean Region

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

Target Species

Atlantic Cod, Groundfish, Mahi, Tuna

Bycatch Species

Marine Mammals, Sea Turtles, Seabirds, Sharks and Rays

Fishery Improvement Project

GOSAF Snow Crab FIP

The Gulf of St-Lawrence Allied Fisheries (GOSAF) snow crab FIP addresses bycatch issues that result from interactions between pot/trap buoy lines and large cetaceans, particularly the North Atlantic Right Whale.

Fishery Type

Pots/Traps

Ocean Region

Northern Atlantic Ocean

Target Species

Snow Crab

Bycatch Species

Marine Mammals

Gears and Best Practices

Hook Shielding Devices

A hook shielding device encases or covers the tip of the baited hook during the longline set to prevent predation by seabirds. The shielding devices is designed to then open or release the hook at a specified depth below which seabirds can dive.

Fishery Type

Longline

Ocean Region

Northern Pacific Ocean, Southern Atlantic Ocean

Target Species

Mahi, Swordfish, Tuna

Bycatch Species

Seabirds

Gears and Best Practices

Jelly FAD

Jelly FADs are non-entangling biodegradable fish aggregating devices that have proven to be just as effective as traditional FADs at aggregating targeted fish species.  Due to their structure design and materials used, they do not pose an entanglement risk to sea turtles, dolphins/porpoises, and sharks/rays, and if lost will biodegrade much faster than traditional FADs.

Fishery Type

Purse Seine

Ocean Region

Eastern Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Western Pacific Ocean

Target Species

Tuna

Bycatch Species

Marine Mammals, Sea Turtles, Seabirds, Sharks and Rays

Fishery Improvement Project

Jonah Crab Gear Innovation Project

The Jonah Crab GIP is a group of fishers and representatives in the seafood industry trialling ropeless gear in real fishing conditions in the U.S. Jonah crab fishery off the eastern seaboard.

Fishery Type

Pots/Traps

Ocean Region

Northern Atlantic Ocean

Target Species

Jonah Crab

Bycatch Species

Marine Mammals

Gears and Best Practices

Modified Purse Seine

Modified purse seines were developed to address seabird bycatch in the Chilean anchovy and sardine purse seine fisheries.  Specific modifications include moving the locations of the buoys and decreaseing the amount of excess netting.  The implementation of the modified purse seine resulted in a 98% decrease in seabird bycatch rates for vessels with an increase in target catch.

Fishery Type

Purse Seine

Ocean Region

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

Target Species

Anchovy, Sardines, Salmon

Bycatch Species

Seabirds