Australia’s Northern Prawn Fishery uses turtle excluder devices (TEDs) and bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) to reduce the catch of non-commercial species (bycatch).
TEDs are hard grids placed in trawl nets to prevent turtles and other large animals from becoming trapped in the nets. The grid guides turtles towards an opening in the net, through which they can escape. The commercial prawns are small enough to pass through the grid and so are still caught in the net. BRDs are changes to the trawl net itself, they have openings designed to enable smaller animals to actively swim out of the net. Both devices were made compulsory in the fishery during 2000.Bycatch in the Northern Prawn Fishery includes fish, turtles, sharks and rays, and invertebrates (crabs, non-commercial prawns and other crustacea, seaeggs, sponges and corals).
The effectiveness of TEDs and BRDs in protecting these species from capture has been assessed in a study involving the CSIRO, the Australian Maritime College and Northern Prawn Fishery operators, with funding from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.
The study combined the skills of fishers, fisheries technologists, scientists, economists, statisticians and conservationists. Scientific observers compared catches on 23 commercial vessels and a large proportion of the fleet was surveyed.
Turtle excluder devices and bycatch reduction devices are used in trawl nets
to reduce the
capture of unwanted species. (courtesy of
CSIRO Marine and