Fishtek Marine has won a major contract to supply Norwegian fishermen with its ‘acoustic banana pingers’, helping ensure that the cod fishery retains its Marine Stewardship Council accreditation.
The company has sold 5,000 of the units to 500 boats operating in the Norwegian cod fishery. The pingers attach to gillnets and reduce bycatch of harbour porpoise by emitting a regular pinging sound that deters the mammals from approaching the nets.
Pete Kibel, co-founder and director of Fishtek Marine, said the contract was a breakthrough both for the company and also for marine conservation. “It just shows how a collaborative approach between industry and regulators can drive product innovation and underpin conservation efforts,” he said.
According to the Norwegian government thousands of harbour porpoise drown in nets each year. In January 2021, new legislation was brought in requiring the use of pingers on all gillnets in the main Norwegian cod fishery.
It has taken Fishtek Marine eight years to develop a unit that is sufficiently robust and cost effective for large scale roll out in commercial fisheries. The company has been working with the Norwegian government and Norwegian Institute of Marine Research for the past four years to demonstrate the effectiveness of its pingers, work that has contributed to the development of the new rules.