The Norwegian Fishing Association has decided on supporting the proposal to introduce fishing net pingers in the Vestfjord
Following an overall assessment, the fishing association has landed on supporting the proposal to introduce pingers using nets in the Vestfjord.
Such warning devices are used to prevent marine mammals from entering nets.
This week, the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association has given its consultation response to a proposal from the Directorate of Fisheries on measures to reduce bycatch of marine mammals.
The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association refers to the Directorate of Fisheries’ proposal for measures to reduce bycatch of marine mammals on 10 June this year.
The proposal entails the introduction of a new provision in the Exercise Regulations § 29 a. On the injunction on the use of pings when using nets in statistical area 00 (Vestfjorden). The order does not apply to fishing for roe biscuits and halibut. The order will be introduced from 2021, and apply in the period 01 January to 30 April.
The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries’ proposal to impose the use of pingers in statistical areas 00 in the West Fjord is mainly based on the risk of import restrictions on cod to the USA, and possible consequences for MSC certification. The Directorate of Fisheries writes the following on page 6 in its consultation note:
The consequences of not introducing measures to reduce by – catches of porpoises can thus lead to import restrictions on cod to the USA. According to the US import regulations, the USA will require certificates for (Norwegian) exports of, for example, cod that prove that it does not originate from nets, if fish and fish products from the net fisheries are covered by an import ban. It can also have consequences for MSC certification.
The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association is in principle positive that measures are being introduced to limit the capture of marine mammals for biological reasons, but also that it is important to ensure both market access for Norwegian fish products in the USA and the MSC certifications in Norwegian fisheries.
However, the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association acknowledges that there will be costs associated with the introduction of requirements for pingers when using nets in the above – mentioned catch area, as well as extra work when handling nets etc. in the boat.
However, the fishing association considers that a possible closure of the area in the Vestfjord (the Directorate of Fisheries’ alternative) all or part of the year will be even more intrusive for the fishermen. If we were to also lose market access for Norwegian fish products and the MSC certificates, this would be a greater loss than a cost of pingers per. vessels of NOK 11,000-14,000.
On the basis of the above, the Fiskarlaget has, after an overall assessment, come to the conclusion that we support the proposal to introduce pingers using nets in statistical area 00 (Vestfjorden).
The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association asks the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries for an evaluation of the introduction of requirements for pingers in fishing for nets when the injunction period ends on 30 April. It is also important that the spotlight is placed on reporting bycatch of marine mammals, so that regulations in Norwegian sea areas are based on the best available knowledge at all times. Since this will be a completely new scheme in this area, it is also important that the control authorities must show flexibility in the event of unintentional violation of the order, e.g. by broken pings that have fallen off etc. »
Facts about pingers
The equipment supplier Frøystad (external link) points out that the use of “pingers” keeps marine mammals away from net use by sending out acoustic signals.
Banana Pingers is a banana-shaped, net-proof device, which sends out a random signal series of between 50 and 120 kilohertz, which keeps porpoises and seals away from the nets.
The report NAMMCO / 26 / NPR-N-17, prepared by Nils Øien & Tore Haug in 2017, shows that cod nets with mounted pings gave as much as 19% higher catch.
British Fishtek Marine’s banana-shaped pingers work for up to one year for each battery change, and down to 1000 meters deep.
From 2022, porpoises in nets will be required to report to the USA, and may result in a loss of American market access if the catch is not sustainable. As of January 2022, the United States will require exporting countries to establish similar rules for the conservation of marine mammals as those enforced by the United States itself.
Banana Pingers has been tested and approved for use in Norway.