Resourcefulness meets technology....

Seabird proxies woven from harakeke are currently being used on a snapper longline vessel to see whether their on-board camera can detect a seabird if caught.


Placing fisheries observers on board small inshore vessels can be logistically challenging and costly.  The introduction of electronic monitoring using on-board cameras offers a way to increase monitoring coverage, both of the catch and of non-target species. However, trying to test the effectiveness of the camera's to detect non-target species, like seabirds, is challenging - given no-one wants to harm any birds.

David Middleton of Trident technologies came up with the idea of using seabird proxies woven from harakeke to trial the effectiveness of on-board cameras. Adam Clow, a longliner from Whitianga jumped at the chance to be involved in the trial.


The harakeke/flax seabirds have the same profile as a dead seabird on a hook. They are attached to hooks at random times during normal line setting. The camera records the line being hauled on board and the footage is later reviewed blind – without the reviewer knowing how many seabird proxies were added to the line. 

From the trial it will be possible to see how well the cameras collect information on seabird captures and how easily they are picked up by reviewers. The trial is due to finish in September, when a report will be published on the camera’s performance.

Read the full article published by Seafood New Zealand article here.