The 'looming eyes buoy' (LEB) exploits visual stimuli that trigger an avoidance response or collision risk signal in birds' brains. It combines large ‘looming eyes’ (visible from a long way off) and conspicuous movement, with the eyes rotating in the wind as the tall pole sways and bobs in the water. While preliminary trials found that the LEB had potential to reduce seabird bycatch, follow up controlled trials found no effect of LEBs on bycatch (nor target catch - lumpfish). An unexpected but positive outcome of the trials was a strong correlation between bycatch rates and fishing depths, suggesting that depth-based fishing restrictions could virtually eliminate the bycatch of seabirds in this fishery.
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- Swimmer, Y. and Wang, J.H. (eds). 2006. Sea Turtle and Pelagic Fish Sensory Physiology Workshop. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOAA-TM-NMFS-PIFSC-12.
- Wang, J.H., Fisler, S. and Swimmer, Y. 2010. Developing visual deterrents to reduce sea turtle bycatch in gill net fisheries. Marine Ecology Progress Series 408: 241-250.
- Rouxel Y (2020) The Looming Eyes Buoy. Birdlife - The Magazine July-September:44–45.
- Rouxel Y, Crawford R, Cleasby IR, et al (2021) Buoys with looming eyes deter seaducks and could potentially reduce seabird bycatch in gillnets. R Soc open sci 8:rsos.210225, 210225. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.210225
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- Rouxel Y, Arnardóttir H, Oppel S (2023) Looming-eyes buoys fail to reduce seabird bycatch in the Icelandic lumpfish fishery: depth-based fishing restrictions are an alternative. Royal Society Open Science 10:230783. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.230783