Develop your ideas

Develop your ideas

"When we begin to talk and work together, that is when we find the solution."

Prof. Carlos Moreno, Instituto de Ecologia y Evolucion, Universidad Austral de Chile.

Discuss your ideas with fishermen or vessel managers to see if they have merit and are likely to be cost-effective. You'll need to do this regardless of whether you plan to modify existing mitigation or to develop new technologies.

At this point you should also look into whether the idea has been tried before. And if so, what fisheries, bird species, gear type and fishing conditions the idea was applied to. How far did people go in developing the idea and what can you learn from their experiences?

You may also consider whether or not you want to develop your idea into a commercial business. If so, you may want to consider protecting your idea from people copying it or 'stealing' it by using a patent or something similar. Be aware though, that this will not necessarily be cheap or easy.

Try it out

To get your idea to this stage, you may have to do some sort of sea trials. These will involve getting access to a vessel.

You may already have access to a fishing vessel. If you do not, for a fisherman or vessel manager to let you trial your idea on their vessel while fishing, you must first convince them it will not affect either their catches or the safety of their crew.

Use experts

Where your mitigation idea is a technical solution, you will need to overcome a range of technical hurdles. This means involving people who are experts in the technology you are working with.

If you are developing or modifying fishing gear, involve experts from companies that make and design fishing gear. If it has an engineering component, get an engineer involved who is an expert in that field.

Make sure you maintain a professional relationship with everyone involved, so everyone knows what their stake in the project is and what they have to deliver. Also make sure you regularly talk with everyone about where the project is at, so there are no 'surprises' for anyone.

Take it fishing

"Is the device going to work in a variety of fisheries? On many types of boat? Or is it only going to work for certain vessels, certain fisheries, certain birds, certain times of the year?"

John Cleal, Fisheries Consultant, New Zealand.

So now your idea has got to the point where you are going to take it on a vessel and trial it in a real fishing situation.

When fishermen head out on a fishing trip, they want to fill their hold as quickly as they can with as many of their target fish as possible. Anything that keeps them from doing this is costing them and their crew money. Keep this in mind whenever you are trialling your device or technique on a vessel that is fishing. You may also need a special permit to use the device, particularly if the fishery you want to trial it in has seabird mitigation regulations.

Your fishing trials may involve testing the device or technique under a range of fishing conditions or in different areas with different seabird species.

Once you have developed your idea to the point where it works in the fishery and under the conditions you have in mind, you will need to prove to others how well it works. This means doing properly designed scientific experiments.