A WWF International Smart Gear Competition to reduce bycatch
By some estimates, fishing bycatch—which includes unwanted dolphins, turtles, whales, and birds—snared by gillnets, longlines, and trawlers makes up 40% of the catch today.
The 2014 International Smart Gear Competition seeks innovative, environmentally friendly ways to reduce the amount of fisheries bycatch. The recurring contest is sponsored by the WWF, and has resulted in some really clever solutions (such as LED-equipped nets tuned to various wavelengths that repel specific species) that greatly reduce bycatch, conserving populations of marine mammals, turtles, fish, and other sea creatures.
Open to all, over the last few years the competition has attracted entries from all kinds of people who care about fishing— from gear technologists and fishermen to engineers and chemists. The judges panel includes fisheries experts, gear technologists, fishermen, scientists, researchers, and conservationists.
Deadline for entries for 2014 is August 31, but don’t let that stop you from coming up with new ideas. The contest is a recurring event—and this year’s prizes total $65,000.