WWF-US has launched the second WWF International Smart Gear Competition. The contest seeks innovative fishing gear that reduces marine bycatch – the accidental catch and related deaths of marine mammals, birds, sea turtles and non-target fish species in fishing gear such as nets and longlines.
“WWF is looking for real-world fishing solutions that allow fishermen to fish ‘smarter’ by better targeting their intended catch while safeguarding the dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life often caught unintentionally,” said Ginette Hemley, Vice-President for species conservation at WWF-US.
“This unique collaboration among conservationists, fishermen and scientists is designed to inspire new technologies for more sustainable fishing.”
The international competition will award a US$25,000 grand prize and two US$5,000 runner-up prizes to the designs judged to be the most practical, cost-effective methods for reducing bycatch of any species.
The competition is open to eligible entrants from any background, including fishermen, professional gear manufacturers, teachers, students, engineers, scientists and backyard inventors.
Conventional fishing gear does not often allow users to selectively target their catch. As a result, non-target fish species, marine mammals, birds, sea turtles and non-target fish species are caught and sometimes killed.
More than 25 per cent of what is caught in the course of fishing