American wins WWF Smart Gear prize

An American working in New Caledonia has won the grand prize in a new international competition to devise technologies that protect marine life while improving the efficiency of commercial fishing.

The winning invention weighs a main fishing line down with lead weights and releases the baited hooks deeper than 100 meters (328 feet), which allows longline fishermen to minimize encounters with sea turtles and maximize their tuna catch.

The International Smart Gear Competition was created by WWF-US in May 2004 to bring together partners representing fishermen, fisheries, policy and science to find solutions that will reduce the decline of vulnerable species due to bycatch. Applicants from 16 countries applied their skills to solving this global problem.