Underwater bait setter gets fisherman’s tick of approval

Kiwi tuna fisherman is trialling an innovation that keeps bait away from birds.


The underwater bait setter is ready for use in a commercial fishing operation. So says New Zealand tuna fisherman Stu Morrison, who has agreed to install and use this innovative seabird saving device on his tuna boat.

View the device on YouTube

The device carries baited hooks underwater in a capsule, and releases them below the diving depth of seabirds. Stu recently flew to Australia to see the device in action and to meet the developers - seabird mitigation expert Graham Robertson and Amerro Engineering.

Stu was very impressed with the device, and will install it for his next fishing season.


Figure 1: (Credit – Graham Robertson and Barbara Wienecke)   

Schematic of the underwater bait setter (Note: Diagram not to scale). Shown are:

(a) the winch assembly;

(b) head section of the track assembly;

(c) the track on vessel transom;

(d) capsule docking cart;

(e) Spectra rope connecting the capsule to the recovery motor winch;

(f) capsule with bait door fully extended and the baited hook following release from the capsule.

Not shown is the electronic systems control unit located in the wheel house and operated by the skipper. Dive depths of the main seabird species are indicated at right. The curved shapes above the capsule depict aerated water thrust from the propeller.


Front page image of skipper loading a baited hook into the capsule - photo Graham Robertson.