Cornwall Wildlife Trust pinger project plans

Cornwall Wildlife Trust has been campaigning for protection of our dolphin populations for many years and is happy to announce that it has recently received funding from the DEFRA Fisheries Challenge Fund, and an extremely successful public appeal to proceed with their pinger trial.

Common dolphins, Photo: Fiona McNie
Bottlenose dolphin, Photo: Fiona McNie

Pingers are acoustic deterrent devices that emit a signal audible to dolphins that alerts them to the presence of fishing nets. They have been shown to effectively reduce accidental entanglements in certain fisheries, such as those using fine monofilament nets, which dolphins and porpoises often don’t see. This has been a problem in Cornwall for both harbour porpoises and common dolphins and the fishing industry is as keen to find a solution as the Trust.

Cornwall Sea Fisheries Committee (CSFC) is working in partnership with Cornwall Wildlife Trust on this project and has already found five fishermen who are willing to take part in the trial, two of which are based in the Helford. The trial aims to prove the effectiveness and practicality of pingers on smaller inshore vessels, up to 12m in length.

CSFC Senior Fishery Officer Simon Cadman says “No-one, including fishermen, wants to see these animals caught in nets and we hope the pinger project will prove beneficial in demonstrating a practical solution for preventing accidental cetacean bycatch”.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust aims to start this project in Mid April and run the trial for a whole season. This is a fantastic opportunity to work closely with the fishing industry and we have had great support from the fishermen involved and huge support from the public.

Tom Hardy, Marine Conservation Officer for CWT

Extract from HVMCA newsletter No.38 Spring 2009

© Helford Voluntary Marine Conservation Area