Solutions for seal interactions?

Craig Turley • 19 May 2021
7 comments
5 likes

Seal interactions are often undesirable for small-scale fishers, sometimes leading to the predation of hard-earned catch.

How do small-scale fishers around the world successsfully deter interactions or predation from seals during fishing events?

We are looking for non-fatal methods that can be applied broadly to a range of fisheries?

Comments (7)

Carlito Turner

Hi [~88]! There is a resource on the SSF Hub, Guía para la evaluación y mitigación de capturas incidentales de tortugas marinas y otros depredadores superiores en pesquerías artesanales, that looks at various gears and technologies that can potentially reduce interactions with sea turtles, marine mammals (including seals and sea lions), and other species. The guide (in Spanish) focuses on SSF and details on seals/sea lions can be found on pages 84-85.

You can find that resource here: https://ssfhub.org/resource/guia-para-la-evaluacion-y-mitigacion-de-cap…

  • Craig Turley

    Thanks for suggesting this resource Carlito. Unfortunately when I try and click on the resrouce on SSF Hub, It says that I do not have access. Do you have any idea why?

  • Carlito Turner

    [~88] Thanks for flagging that you weren't able to download the guide! The problem should now be fixed! Please let me know if you have any other issues. Thanks again for calling attention to the bug!

  • Suju Mukkatira

    Dear Craig, this is a topic that my colleagues and I have studied at great length, through literature review and discussions with fish harvesters, fisheries resource managers, veterinarians, biologists, and political leaders. I'd be happy to discuss it at greater length with you any time. Three bottom line points: (i) seals are very intelligent animals and it won't take them long to learn how to ignore or circumvent non-lethal deterrence measures if there is a way of doing so. Seals also can and do teach other seals what they learn, and knowledge is passed on through generations, much as it is in humans. (ii) There are many non-lethal tools developed for other enforcement activities, including compressed air guns and non-lethal stun grenades, that could be explored. There are many options to choose from and it would be a good idea to try several on a small scale over a significant period of time to see how they perform as the seals learn about them and formulate strategies for countering them. (iii) The most important thing, imo, is to be transparent from the beginning about any measures taken to address seal-related problems, and to seek public guidance/consensus/license as you're doing here. The most important elements of work in this area are public communications and transparency, and patience while people wrap their heads around the full picture. Best regards and best wishes with your work.

  • Craig Turley

    Thank you Suju, This is very interesting indeed. I have heard of fishers using air canons.

    The key here is that the solution needs to be easy, effective and cost effective.

    I would love to discuss this further!

  • Suju Mukkatira

    Examples of Non-lethal Deterrence Technologies:

    "15. Active Denial System – Pain Ray (Electromagnetic wave)

    Officially known as the Active Denial System (ADS), the Pain Ray is a non-lethal weapon which transmits a narrow beam of electromagnetic energy to heat the skin without causing permanent damage. The wave penetrates beneath the skin which causes an unbearable burning sensation, forcing pirates to run away or jump overboard."
    https://www.marineinsight.com/marine-piracy-marine/18-anti-piracy-weapo…

  • Craig Turley

    Interesting, I will look more closely into this.

    I think public perception is certainly important with these non-lethal interaction and as you suggest, transparency will be important in this.

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