Kellian line setter

Kellian line setter

"I was fishing off Whakatane for yellowfin tuna, using live bait. I started experimenting by lowering a raincoat full of pilchards into the water on a string. When I pulled the string, it released the pilchards.

At eight metres the birds didn't bother diving; between five and eight metres they'd dive for some; but above five they'd get every piece. The light went on - 'if we could get the bait to 10 metres, the problem of birds being killed by baited hooks was solved"

The original prototype of the Kellian Line Setter was developed by New Zealand fisherman Dave Kellian. Dave is dedicated to finding practical solutions to reduce seabird interactions and maintain profitable, safe fishing operations.


The Kellian line-setter is designed for bottom longline fishing.

It is towed behind the vessel and sets the line and baits below the surface, out of sight of seabirds.

The device is designed to:

  • reduce risk to seabirds
  • be easily deployed and safe for crew
  • maintain and improve fishing capacity
  • work on a wide range of vessel types
  • be cost effective

Testing & development

Testing & development

The original prototype design was modified in 2012 during the design and engineering phase in collaboration with Graham Robertson from Australian Antarctic Division, the Australian Maritime College and engineer/naval architect Rowan Frost.

A new prototype was developed and under-went flume tank testing (right) in 2012 under the close eye of Barry Baker - Mitigation Mentor.

The prototype is now ready for sea-trialling, which will likely occur back in New Zealand.

The Southern Seabird Solutions Trust is currently seeking funding to support these trials.