‘WALL-E’ Scarecrow Prevents Seabirds from Being Trapped in Fishing Nets

Conservationists developed a floating ‘WALL-E’ scarecrow that will help prevent seabirds getting caught in nets. This scarecrow was…
'WALL-E' scarecrow

Conservationists developed a floating ‘WALL-E’ scarecrow that will help prevent seabirds getting caught in nets. This scarecrow was developed as an effort to provide solutions to stop seabird bycatch.

The floating ‘WALL-E’ scarecrow is designed to be installed on a buoy. It reduces the number of seabirds flying around Estonian waters. Fishing bycatch has caused the deaths of about 400,000 birds across the world every year.

When non-intended animals are captured in fishing nets, it is known as fishing bycatch.  The Looming Eyes Buoy (LEB0 was tested on ducks flying off Estonia’s coast over 250 hours to evaluate its effectiveness. When the conservationists removed the buoys, the birds returned.

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The development of low-cost devices such as the LEB offers up simple, yet innovative, solutions to these conservation problems and so that everybody benefits. The next step is for us to test the device in gillnet fisheries to ensure that seabird bycatch is reduced. 

Lead author of the study, Yann Rouxel

The next stop of this buoy is the Icelandic Lumpfish fisheries and their nets, this will help to know if the buoy can continue preventing other kinds of birds from being caught. Seabird’s gillnet bycatch isn’t easy to prevent.

Measures such as nets prohibition and closure of fisheries can affect developing nations that depend on fishing for a great percentage of their national income.  Scientists are using scarecrow since it is a low-cost solution.

Namibia opted for a solution such as this, where nearly perfect success via stringing “fish scaring lines” from fishing trawlers’ backs. According to GNN, there was a 98% decline in the deaths of seabirds after a measure demanding that fishermen put these lines at the back of their boats was adopted.

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