Net attendance refers to fishermen watching over nets for the duration of time that the gear is in the water. The presence of fishermen is thought to warn off seabirds from the area, with the added benefit that fishermen are in the correct position to continually monitor bycatch and instantly (safely handle and) release any birds that become entangled.
Reports from fishermen in Filey Bay suggest that net attendance may reduce bycatch in inshore gillnet fisheries, however very few fisheries have adopted this approach elsewhere in the UK as the research has not been formally studied and reported in peer reviewed literature. In the Filey Bay study, net attendance was trialled alongside a high visibility leader line and, though this did result in a significant reduction of bycatch, it is difficult to determine which mitigation technique had the greatest effect.
Although net attendance has the potential to be used in other small, inshore, surface gillnet fisheries, the application of this technique in larger demersal gillnet fisheries is unlikely to be as feasible or effective due to the increased soak time, and the depth at which the gillnets may be set which means bycatch could occur regardless of net attendance.
This page was last updated on 12.02.21.
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