New Zealand becomes first country to adopt Hookpod


New Zealand has become the first country to approve and adopt the use of Hookpod, a device that saves albatrosses and other seabirds from becoming victims of longline fishing.

The Ministry of Primary Industries approved a motion this week of the use of the ground-breaking innovation as a stand-alone seabird bycatch mitigation measure. This follows Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) approval of Hookpod as stand-alone seabird mitigation measure in 2018.

New Zealand has become the first country to approve and adopt Hookpod use.

It's estimated that 300,000 seabirds are killed each year in the world's pelagic longline fishing industry. Hookpod is a UK-designed device that is proven to virtually eliminate the bycatch of albatrosses while not affecting the target species catch rate of the fishing industry. 

Early trials of Hookpod were in collaboration with fishermen and the RSPB Albatross Task Force, working on behalf of BirdLife International. It is popular with tuna fisheries wherever they encounter albatrosses – although interest has been especially high in New Zealand, where fishermen have been looking for a reliable and easy-to-use alternative to streamers, weights and night-setting.

Content continues after advertisements

Shy Albatrosses, as well as other seabird species, will benefit from the use of Hookpod in New Zealand waters (Chris Darby).

Dave Kellian, a skipper of 40 years, commented: "I've worked with a range of mitigation options to reduce seabird bycatch and in my opinion the Hookpod is an excellent solution to this problem. I am very excited to have a ready-made proven solution that achieves better than the 10-metre sink rate that I have ascertained as the minimum depth to remedy seabird bycatch.

"At 20 metres opening to release the hook, this device is revolutionary. My current mitigation measures meet international standards but are also inconvenient and at times dangerous, especially in heavy weather. From trial findings with Hookpod, it's a no-brainer that I will be fitting Hookpods this season."

The decision of the New Zealand government comes exactly 12 months after the WCPFC approved the hook-shielding device for use as a stand-alone alternative to current mitigation measures and marks another highpoint in a highly successful year for Hookpod.