Alternative fishing

One of the unfortunate side effects of the commercial fishing is by-catch of bird and mammal species. Preliminary studies have suggested that up to 10-15% of all wintering water-birds get entangled and die in gillnets of the commercial fisheries. Although there are no statistical data available, seal by-catch in the Baltic waters has steadily grown, especially in Estonia.
Reduction of this negative impact is essential for ensuring the favourable conservation status of bird and mammal species protected in the proposed marine Natura 2000 sites in the three Baltic countries.

In the frame of this action two main types of actions in two pilot areas will be carried out – use of long-lines and herring traps in aim to reduce bird by-catch (Lithuanian coast) and, use of modified fyke nets in aim to reduce seal by-catch (West-Estonia). The aim of this activity is to propose a restructuring of fishery towards the use of fishing gear less dangerous to birds and seals. Before proposing such measures, the efficiency of alternative gear at catching fish and its "friendliness" to birds and seals has to be proved. For this purpose three types of alternative fishing gear – long-lines, herring traps and "seal-safe” fyke nets – will be tested in pilot areas (Lithuanian coast and West-Estonian archipelago sea). For testing the alternative fishing methods selected fishermen will be contracted and they will use the relevant equipment during the project period with reporting obligation to relevant project partners.

As result of these activities efficiency and by-catch level of alternative fishing gears is tested and analysed and if the alternative method proves to be better option it will be promoted to be used instead of traditional fishing gears.
BEF Life Natura