4 March 2011 - Initiated in 2004, the WWF International
Smart Gear Competition now takes place for the 5th time.
Fishermen, backyard inventors, students and others have
been invited to submit entries for the best new fishing
gear to reduce bycatch. The competition will be accepting
submissions from 1 March to 31 August 2011 and offers prizes
of a total value of $US 57,500.
This biennial initiative aims to find innovative
ways to make fishing gear more environmentally friendly
by reducing the capture of unwanted marine life, typically
termed ‘bycatch’. “WWF’s goal with
the Smart Gear competition is to inspire innovative ideas
for environmentally-friendly fishing gear,” said Dr.
Bill Fox, Vice President of Fisheries for WWF-US. “In
addition to fishermen losing millions of dollars each year
due to bycatch, many other species, including endangered
marine life, are unintentionally and needlessly killed by
antiquated fishing gear. “This competition identifies
real-world solutions so fishermen can fish ‘smarter’
– allowing them to maintain a commercially viable
business while helping to maintain ocean health.”
Bycatch is one of the main threats for
virtually all marine species listed on the Appendices of
the Convention on Migratory Species, many of which are also
protected under regional agreements, covering cetaceans
(whales, dolphins and porpoises), marine turtles, seabirds,
seals, sirenians (dugongs and manatees) and sharks.
More information on the 5th WWF International
Smart Gear Competition can be found on the WWF website [click