The Banana Pinger Trial: Investigation into the Fishtek Banana Pinger to reduce cetacean bycatch in an inshore set net fishery
In Europe, the use of pingers to reduce the bycatch of dolphins and porpoises by ‘over-12m’ fishing vessels using bottom set gill or tangle nets has been delayed by practical and cost issues, despite a 2004 European Commission regulation requiring the use of approved pingers. Mandatory use of pingers on these vessels came into force in England in July 2013.
Following on from previous work by Cornwall Wildlife Trust, this study assessed whether a new, cheaper, deterrent, the Banana Pinger, would be effective and practical for use on smaller vessels, which are a large proportion of the European static net fishing fleet.
Efficacy was measured acoustically using instruments (‘C-PODs’) that detect the presence of cetaceans in the vicinity of the instrument, as it is known that pingers that reduce bycatch also reduce the number of porpoise clicks that can be heard at the net. C-POD acoustic recording devices were used to log all cetacean activity around both pingered and non-pingered nets. This is a proven and published method for determining potential incidence of animals getting entangled in the nets rather than actual bycatch.