Untangling the issue of whale bycatch

A false killer whale hooked on a longline in Hawaii.
A false killer whale hooked on a longline in Hawaii. (Photo: AMMC)

Two novel devices designed to prevent toothed whales from stealing valuable fish from pelagic longlines are undergoing their first proof of concept test in Australian waters.

If successful, the devices could precipitate development of new technologies that will help reduce the death and injury of whales in pelagic (open ocean) longline fisheries, while improving the economic benefits to fishers.

The devices, dubbed the ‘Tuna Guard–Streamer Pod’ and the ‘Whale Shield–Jellyfish’, aim to deter toothed whales from removing or damaging fish caught on pelagic longlines – a practice known as ‘depredation’.

Read more about the research in the Australian Antarctic Magazine.