Graham Robertson will be travelling back to Uruguay in August to fit a bait setting device onto one of about 15 Uruguayan fishing vessels. The tests he and his team will be conducting are the final stage of a very long process. Graham hopes to be able to demonstrate two things; 1. That the device stops bi-catch of albatross and petrels from long line fishing, 2. That the use of the device does not interfere with the commercial success of the fishing operation of the boats it’s fitted to.
Since joining us in Antarctica last November Graham has been learning Spanish (in Peru), meeting fishermen and working with one boat owner/captain who’s happy to work with Graham (in Uruguay) to test the device, as well as pushing the team of engineers and designers (in Mooloolaba - Queensland) to make the final changes to the device to ensure that this last, and most important, phase of the project is a success.
These tests should be completed by October of this year and he’s confident he will be able to demonstrate that the device stops the needless killing of albatross and petrels and does not interfere with the commercial success of fishing. He’ll then have a real and practical solution to save albatross lives.
The next phase will be getting more boat owners to use the device (and to make sure they can be maintained and continue to be used) and then supplying (which is yet another challenge) those devices.
With a proven solution this whole project should take on a new life – as it will be far harder for governments, boat owners and fishermen to ignore. More on the progress of this project in the next Poles Apart.