Nagging Siren wins seal competition

16th October 2015

Australian Maritime College students have come up with novel designs for devices that could reduce the incidental capture of seals during trawl fishing. Their designs were concocted as part of a competition jointly sponsored by the SETFIA and AFMA.
Following judging by AFMA, scientists and industry, prizes were awarded to the winning students by Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries, Senator Richard Colbeck.
The Senator said, “It is great to see such innovation and enthusiasm from students to design ‘real’ solutions for challenges faced by Australia’s trawl fisheries,” Senator Colbeck went on to say, “Innovation is important as we continue to work together with industry and other fishery stakeholders to ensure Australia’s fisheries management practices remain among the very best in the world.”
The winning design by student Tommy Cheo (bottom on stairs), “The Nagging Siren” is an idea for a mechanical device which could be towed behind a trawler or attached to trawl nets that, when dragged through the water, emits an irritating noise intended to deter seals from entering the area around the fishing operations. Tommy won $500.
2nd Place: THE SEALYA LATER SYSTEM by Ben uit den Bogaard (2nd from bottom), who is studying Bachelor of Applied Science (Marine Environment). His design uses a mild DC electric current travelling through a flexible conductor woven into the trawl net to deter seals from entering the net. Ben won $300.
3rd Place: THE ILLUMINATOR by Tana McCarthy (3rd from bottom), who is enrolled in the Associate Degree in Applied Science (Marine Environment). This design uses battery-operated lights to act as a reference point for the seals to find an exit from the net. Tana won $200.
Honourable mention: THE SEAL MASK SYSTEM by Jack Hauser (top of stairs), who is studying the Bachelor of Applied Science (Marine Environment) – Uses a combination of non-harmful, water soluble materials such as bicarbonate soda, olive oil, citric acid and scented oils compressed in a block. These ingredients are designed to suppress and confuse a seal’s senses so that it does not enter, or remain within the vicinity of the trawl net.