Friday, March 9, 2007

WWF Fishing Gear Competition

WWF launches fishing gear competition to reduce marine bycatch
07 Feb 2007

Gland, Switzerland – WWF has launched its third annual international Smart Gear Competition, seeking new designs for fishing gear that reduces marine bycatch — the accidental catch and related deaths of millions of marine species in nets and longlines each year.

The international competition will award a US$30,000 grand prize and two US$10,000 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.

"We want to encourage people from different countries and backgrounds from around the world to enter this competition to make fishing practices smarter," says James Leape, WWF's Director General.

“WWF is working around the world to reduce the death and waste of seabirds, turtles, dolphins, juvenile fish and other animals through entanglement with fishing gear. Often the best innovations come from fishers themselves. This is a unique opportunity to hear about practical solutions to help tackle one of the greatest threats to our seas."

Last year’s winner was a New Jersey inventor who designed fishing gear that could save thousands of sharks from accidentally dying on fishing lines each year. The winner’s design uses a shark's ability to detect magnetic fields as a way to protect them by placing strong magnets just above baited hooks. The design will be tested this spring and summer in advance of potential commercial use.

The winner of the Smart Gear Competition will be decided by a diverse set of judges, including fishermen, researchers, engineers and fisheries managers from all over the world. Instructions for entering this year's competition are available at Completed entries must be submitted by 31 July 2007.

For further information:
Tom Lalley, Media Relations Director

Sarah Bladen, WWF Communications Manager
WWF Global Marine Programme

Jo Benn, WWF Communications Manager
WWF Global Species Programme

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