Fish hook addition reportedly saves birds and sea turtles

shielded hook.bmp
Photo Credit: H. Jusseit

Hans Jusseit, a tuna fisherman, has designed a shield to protect the bait on fish hooks (image above). These are not just any fish hooks. These hooks are for catching large fish, like tuna, using longlines like the one shown in the picture below.
Image: OPRT-Organization for the Promotion of Responsible Tuna Fisheries
One problem with this type of fishing is that hundreds of thousands of seabirds and endangered sea turtles, along with other "bycatch" like sharks and porpoises, get caught on the hooks and die while trying to get to the bait. According to a recent article, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration both believe that fishing may be the leading cause of sea turtle mortality as the animals try to eat the bait.

Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Like this albatross, an endangered species:
Photo: Guy Marcovaldi, Projeto Tamar Brazil, Marine Photobank

or these sea turtles:
Photo: © Projeto Tamar Brazil - Image Bank.

The shield created by Hans snaps over the hooks to protect the bait from being eaten as the hooks sink in the water.

There is of course plenty of controversy about whether fishing for some of the top predators in the ocean is a good thing as it allows the prey to multiply.

What are your thoughts on longline fishing and the invention of these new shields? Are they enough?

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Fine, I'll 'bite'. Ideally, we could rid ourselves of longlines altogether, but that's not gonna happen any time soon. This is a decent idea if it actually reduces turtle/bird bycatch. Does his brother-in-law manufacture the metal cups? Looks like the center cap for the spare tire holder on my jeep. Patent please.

The guy with the turtles should have been shot.

By Vince Whirlwind (not verified) on 16 Nov 2011 #permalink

I agree that it is a start but not enough to prevent extinction of the some of the top predators.

I think longlines should be outlawed. Too many collateral deaths of endangered species. Some fishing boats have nets that are 60 miles long! That is just insane!
I am glad that somebody is trying to minimize the damage, but it sounds like "too little, too late" to me.

i think they should totally outlow fishing in the oceans.we should only eat fish farm fish.of corse aisian countrys that think they have to kill everything on the planet so they can get a hardon would still take a big toll

I totally agree with #5 by 'twang'. Fish should be supplied by locally farmed fish. This would allow the natural stocks to recover to a point where they could be harvested in a more controlled way to out- survive humans instead of maybe loosing them alltogether except to marine museums and film

By Carol Adams (not verified) on 27 Nov 2011 #permalink