Experimental Fishing Gear to Reduce Bycatch
Commercial and recreational fishermen catch seafood with nets, traps and hooks. Many marine animals apart from those principally targeted for capture get caught and killed in fishing gear. We are working with fishermen, engineers and marine biologists to research and develop fishing techniques that reduce this bycatch of endangered non-target marine species.
Recently, a team of scientists working with the Conservation Engineering Program of the New England Aquarium traveled to China in order to oversee the production of gillnets made with barium sulfate.
See a photo log of the China trip (PDF 1.6 MB).
We collaborate with the Consortium for Wildlife Bycatch Reduction to research and develop new and innovative fishing devices and methods that reduce the threat of bycatch to sea turtles, large whales, sharks and other marine animals.
By working toward innovative solutions, we have developed acoustic pingers that successfully warn dolphins and porpoises away from gillnets. Aquarium researchers have also shown that metals may be usable as shark repellents in hook-based fisheries.