Seal Excluder Devices (SEDs) are designed to help seals swim out of a fishing net if they are are accidentally caught.
SEDs contain a rigid barrier grid, which is attached to the circumference of the net and guides seals towards an escape hole either above or below the grid.
When seals interact with trawl gear, they can become disoriented upon entering the net. In some instances this leads to seals being unable to find a way out of the fishing gear and back to the surface and subsequently drowning.
SED’s provide an escape opening in the net, allowing seals to be ejected without having to turn around and swim back out through the net mouth.
The SED has a metal grid which blocks access to the codend, whilst still allowing fish to pass through the bars. The metal grid angled towards the codend, which guides animals out of the escape hole. SEDs also allow larger animals such as sharks and rays to escape the net safely.
The AFMA Bycatch Program is available to provide industry with assistance when designing, trialling and implementing the seal excluder device. Please contact BycatchProgram@afma.gov.au.