Seabird sprayers are an industry designed device that use seawater delivered at high pressure to deter seabirds from the area of water around the warps. Seabird sprayers are an AFMA approved seabird mitigation device in the Commonwealth Trawl Sector which can be used as an alternative to warp deflectors.
Seabirds are attracted to fishing boats and feed on offal discarded overboard during processing. Feeding from behind the boat puts the seabird in danger of being injured or killed by fishing gear like trawl nets and warp cables. Their wings can become tangled on the warp wires or in the net and they can be dragged under water, possibly leading to drowning.
The seabird sprayer was developed as part of an Australian Government funded project conducted by the South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association (SETFIA), to find ways to further decrease interactions between fishing gear and seabirds. The seabird sprayer is an AFMA approved seabird mitigation measure for demersal trawling and has been tested against a series of strict performance measures by scientific observers.
How seabird sprayers work
The seabird sprayer comprises of two booms extending beyond the stern over the warps, each boom with two arms. Water is pumped into the arms, and out through nozzles. This creates a curtain of water around each warp of approximately 3 m x 2 m. The seabird sprayer is deployed at the start of each trip and does not need to be altered between shots.