A new bycatch device has delivered impressive results that will improve the sustainability of fishing operations of wild catch prawns in Australia’s Northern Prawn Fishery.
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston, met with the developer, Mr Kon Triantopoulos, and representatives of the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) Industry to hear how this device works.
“The trial results indicated a statistically significant reduction in bycatch of approximately 35%,” Minister Ruston said.
“This has been confirmed by CSIRO and is a fantastic outcome for this industry-led initiative.
“The NPF has been a leader in addressing bycatch issues over many years. Their current bycatch strategy commits to an additional 30 per cent bycatch reduction over three years, and the positive results from the industry trial of this new device, called Kons Covered Fisheye, is a demonstration of industry leading by example.
“Australia has some of the best managed fisheries resources in the world, but we always strive to do more, so it was pleasing to hear that this new device is delivering such significant and noticeable results.
“I congratulate the NPF for this fantastic result. It is yet another example of what can be achieved with industry leading from the front.
“This is a great example of the benefits of a collaborative approach to fisheries management through industry, scientists and the AFMA working together to continually improve the sustainability of our fisheries,” Minister Ruston said.
The Kons Covered Fisheye device is a modification of a bycatch reduction device already approved by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), called a ‘fish-eye’.
AFMA, with technical support from CSIRO, was involved in the industry trial to measure the catch variation between nets, with and without the device.
AFMA staff spent more than 1200 hours at sea, weighing and sorting prawns and bycatch and recording the results.
Underwater camera equipment was also deployed to analyse how different species were interacting with the device.