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New Zealand Inventors Rise To The Challenge

Southern Seabird Solutions
Conservation through Cooperation

Media Release
17 July 2003

New Zealand Inventors Rise To The Challenge

Southern Seabird Solutions is delighted that New Zealand’s number 8 wire approach to solving problems has resulted in six entries in an international seabird competition.

SEO/Birdlife International has organised a global competition to identify inventions and ideas with the potential to prevent seabirds being accidentally caught and killed in the course of commercial fishing.

The competition closed a short time ago, and SEO/Birdlife says that 87 entries from 11 different countries have been received.

Spain put forward the most entries (60), followed by New Zealand (6), Australia (4), Alaska/Hawaii (4), Chile (3), Portugal (3), Argentina (2), Columbia (2), Uruguay (1), Canada (1), and Ireland (1).

An international panel made up of experts on seabirds and fishing will now assess the entries and award approximately $NZ 36,000 in prize money to the design judged to have the most potential.

The convenor of Southern Seabird Solutions, Janice Molloy, who also leads the Department of Conservation’s seabird conservation programme, says she’s pleased that six New Zealand fishers or fishing companies have taken up the international challenge.

“It’s heartening that a number of leaders within the New Zealand fishing industry are putting time and energy into the development of fishing techniques and devices which may save the lives of seabirds,” she says. “An international seabird expert recently described New Zealand as a hotbed of innovation.”

Seabirds forage far and wide across the oceans and they have learnt that commercial fishing vessels are an easy source of food. Thousands of seabirds in the southern hemisphere die each year when they dive on baited fishing hooks and are then pulled under the water.

Fishing practices that minimise the likelihood of that happening include the use of bird-scaring lines, night-setting, blue-dyed bait, and underwater bait-setting devices.

Southern Seabird Solutions is an alliance of government departments, environmental groups and fishing companies with the common goal of reducing the number of southern hemisphere seabirds which are accidentally caught while fishing.

ENDS


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