Cape Times

New line on se­abird safety


EN­VI­RON­MENT con­sul­tancy firm Imvelo Blue, sup­ported by con­ser­va­tion or­gan­i­sa­tion WWF SA, have de­vel­oped a de­vice ca­pable of mon­i­tor­ing fish­ing ves­sels that may not be us­ing bird scare lines.

A de­cline in se­abird pop­u­la­tions can of­ten be at­trib­uted to the in­ci­den­tal deaths caused by com­mer­cial fish­ing op­er­a­tions.

Scav­eng­ing birds, in­clud­ing many en­dan­gered al­ba­tross species, are at­tracted to fish­ing ves­sels.

Sihle Ng­congo, an ex­pe­ri­enced fish­eries ob­server and the de­vel­oper of the Imvelo Bird Scary Line (Imvelo BSL) de­vice, said the tool would go a long way to­wards en­sur­ing fish­ing ves­sels com­plied with us­ing bird scare lines.

“The im­ple­men­ta­tion of more elec­tronic mon­i­tor­ing tools re­duces the pos­si­ble con­flicts be­tween the ob­servers and fish­er­men on board the ves­sels,” Ng­congo said.

‘‘Po­ten­tially, the de­vice can be adopted by the na­tional govern­ment and en­force­ment agen­cies as a com­pli­ance tool, and its data can be trans­mit­ted in real-time, re­duc­ing all the un­cer­tain­ties.”

Ng­congo said the de­vice could help to ad­dress the ecosys­tem im­pact and re­move the com­pli­ance du­ties from sci­en­tif­i­cally-in­clined fish­eries data col­lec­tors.

Bird scare lines, or tori lines, have helped re­duce se­abird mor­tal­i­ties by up to 90%. How­ever, there are still sev­eral seabirds which drift to­wards the trawl warp while for­ag­ing for dis­cards from fish­ing ves­sel.

Birdlife Al­ba­tross Task Force leader An­drea An­gel said the Imvelo BSL de­vice would help in en­sur­ing that fish­ery ves­sels were util­is­ing the bird scare lines.

“Although its part of the re­quire­ments when com­pa­nies or fish­er­men are granted fish­ing rights, it be­comes dif­fi­cult to mon­i­tor in prac­tice.

“The de­vice, be­cause of how it works, will show that a line is not be­ing used and we are en­gag­ing with na­tional govern­ment to have this made manda­tory within the fish­ing in­dus­try,” said An­gel.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the Imvelo Bird Scary Line, visit www. imveloblue­en­ and for bird con­ser­va­tion visit

The de­vice will show that a (bird scare) line is not be­ing used

An­drea An­gel


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