Development of methods to reduce bycatch

bycatch bycatch pet bottles fishing nets brazil GEMARS

Bycatch is the biggest threat to many dolphin species and populations worldwide. In particular, the La Plata dolphin or Franciscana toninha is a species where bycatch reaches unsustainable levels in some regions. To counteract this problem, we are actively involved alongside our partners and work together on practical solutions.
A first promising approach is the attachment of empty (air-filled) PET bottles to fishing nets. These bottles produce a strong echo when the dolphins use their echolocation and approach the net.

The preliminary results of this approach are encouraging, although further testing is needed to statistically confirm this positive trend. This simple and cost-effective solution to a serious problem, if successful, could be an important step in reducing bycatches. In addition, this method could also be used in other regions of the world where there are similar challenges in dealing with other dolphin species.

Our partner GEMARS in Brazil has recognized that the success of such projects is only possible through close cooperation with the fishing community. Raising awareness among the local population of the urgency and effectiveness of such measures is therefore a central part of their work.

PET bottles fisherman Brazil Toninha Pesca Bycatch