The Fisheye and the Popeye Fishbox are two metal framed bycatch reduction devices (BRD’s) that are stitched into the codend of prawn trawl nets.
Many species of juvenile and small non-target fish are distributed throughout areas where fishing operations for prawns occur. This leads to a proportion of catch being discarded.
The Popeye Fishbox BRD has been designed for use in the Northern Prawn Fishery and is an AFMA approved bycatch mitigation device. The device consists of a rigid frame designed to create a turbulent back current of water flow. The turbulent back current is thought to attract fish looking to escape the net as they instinctively seek areas of low water flow. Once fish accumulate near the back current they are able to escape through a rigid – framed opening in the net.
The Popeye Fishbox must be located at a maximum of 120 meshes (with 2” mesh size) from the codend drawstrings. The Popeye Fishbox also contains a guiding funnel to prevent prawn escape. The guiding funnel is kept open by the use of a small float.
The Fisheye BRD is a metal cone shaped frame sewn into the top of the codend. The Fisheye provides a small elliptical opening in the top of the net for fish to escape through. The apex of the cone faces towards the mouth of the net, with the opening facing the codend. In order to utilise the escape exit, fish swim through the frame opening in the top panel of the net.
The Fisheye BRD must also be located at a maximum of 120 meshes (with 2” mesh size) from the codend drawstrings.
The AFMA Bycatch Program is available to provide industry with assistance when designing, trialling and implementing new bycatch reduction devices in prawn trawl fisheries. Please contact BycatchProgram@afma.gov.au.