To protect smooth whales, fishing gear is offered to fishermen

The equipment is stored in a hangar in Halifax with $4.4 million in federal government funding.

Anglers can borrow them for free and get help from a Canadian Wildlife Federation technician to deploy them.

This type of harness is designed to prevent the whale from being injured by becoming entangled in the ropes.

Such an incident is one of the reasons for the decline in the population of smooth whales in the North Atlantic.

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Whales can drag ropes and fishing gear for months. They cannot break free and this leads to their death.

Photo: Coastal Research Center/NOAA permission #932-1905

Rope “to order”

Thanks to the “rope on demand” system, the rope that connects the lockers does not float.

Instead, she is kept in a cage at the bottom of the water.

The rope is held in a metal cage with a remote lock.

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Designed by EdgeTech, this fishing gear allows the line to stay on the bottom of the water to avoid entangling whales.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Adrien Blanc

When a fisherman wants to retrieve his traps, he uses a mobile app connected to the hydrophone to trigger an underwater signal.

Upon receiving this signal, the cage opens and the rope rises to the surface.

It is useful on a small scale in areas closed to fishing– explains Elizabeth Vezina, manager of this program at the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans allows testing of these devices without a rope or roped devices upon request in areas closed to fishing.

On-demand longline fishing is done using experimental licenses that allow anglers to sell their catch […] Only a limited number of fishermen are eligible to obtain such experimental licensesthe ministry spokesman said by e-mail.

The race for innovation

In total, the federal government has committed $20 million to encourage fishermen to use whale-friendly fishing gear.

Aaron Stevenson in his company's workshop.

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In 2017, Aaron Stevenson founded Ashored, a company that makes fishing gear with a magnetic lock to keep the line from floating in the ocean.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Adrien Blanc

For the general director of the company Reinforcedwhich develops its own custom rope system in a workshop in Halifax, the market is promising.

It is changing rapidly not only in Canada, but also in the United States and EuropeNote Aaron Stevenson. The company, founded five years ago, has 14 employees and is actively recruiting.

Still in testing phase

Sea Fishermen’s Union (UMP) has purchased 20 on-demand rope tackle and expects to receive them within the next few months.

However, the organization’s general director of science, Pierre Dupuis, notes that the devices are expensive. $US juste pour la trappe et la bouée, puis 4000$US pour l’ordinateur que tu mets dans le bateau pour faire la demande de la bouée”,”text”:”On parle de 4000$US juste pour la trappe et la bouée, puis 4000$US pour l’ordinateur que tu mets dans le bateau pour faire la demande de la bouée”}}”>We’re talking $4,000 for just the hatch and buoy, then $4,000 for the computer you put in the boat to query the buoyhe explains.

This still allows you to continue fishing in closed areas. »

Quote from Pierre Dupuis, General Director of Science at UPM

Pierre Dupuy believes that this type of anti-tangle device will take time to implement.

We are not necessarily ready to start large-scale work right away. We still need to find ways to fish in a flotilla so that we don’t land across each other.he said.

“Unviable” for Area 34

The Coldwater Lobster Associationwhich represents more than 900 fishing license holders in southwestern Nova Scotia, conducted the 2018 trial.

General Director of the Association, Heather Mulockmeans that the result is unsatisfactory.

These gears are not suitable for lobster fishing 34. »

Quote from Heather MalokCEO, Coldwater Lobster Association

Heather Mulock fears, for example, that such gear will become stuck on a rocky bottom or that the rope will not be accessible at high tide.

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