Subject: Propoises: Net 'Pingers' to get porpoises (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Wed, 22 Apr 1998 08:50:03 -0400 (EDT)

          "Mother, Mother Ocean, I have heard your call,
   Wanted to sail upon your waters, since I was three feet tall"
                        Jimmy Buffett

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 22 Apr 98 12:30:00 GMT 
Subject: Net 'Pingers' to get porpoises

Net 'Pingers' to get porpoises off the hook

  By Chris Court, PA News
   Three Cornish fishing trawlers will next month begin to test an
electronic warning device which could eventually prevent thousands of
porpoises dying in giant nets, it emerged today.
   Fishing industry leader Mike Townsend, chief executive of the
Cornish Fish Producer Association, said today there was an
"international dimension" to the experiment, which could have an
effect beyond Britain's shores.
   "We think it is important, because it is not just Cornish boats,
there is a gill net fishery throughout Europe, and the conservation
benefits could be enormous," he added.
   Scientists and observers will be aboard the Cornish craft which,
together with three Irish trawlers, begin the year-long test of the
"pinger" acoustic devices.
   The devices, which emit a high frequency signal to scare the
porpoises away, will be attached every 100 metres to bottom-set "wall"
nets, which can be up to ten miles long.
Dr Nick Tregenza, of the Cornish Wildlife Trust, who is helping
coordinate the European-funded experiment, said they were not
completely sure "pingers" were the answer, but they looked "very
   And the aim of the project was to see whether the porpoises became
accustomed to the electronic warning and began ignoring it, he said.
   It was estimated that 6% of the porpoises in the Celtic Sea died in
the nets each year, and Dr Tregenza added: "It is unlikely they can
stand that level of loss."
   "They used to be far more numerous and in the Thirties people used
to be paid to shoot them when they appeared in rivers, because it was
feared they were after the salmon," he said.
   Mr Townsend said the fishing industry had carried out extensive
investigations with conservation bodies about unwanted by-catches from
bottom-set gill nets.
   A problem with porpoises had been identified, and they had agreed
to take part in the "pinger" experiment because fishermen did not want
to catch them.