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Smart Longline Hook Could Save Many Seabirds And Turtles

A new innovative hook could make it possible to avoid that up to one million seabirds and turtles are hooked when long line fishing for tuna. Former tuna fisherman and industry chief executive Hans Jusseit has invented the system,

“With over two billion hooks being set each year, I really wanted to see a solution to the devastating impact that the fishing industry is having on seabirds and turtles”, Mr. Jusseit says.

His solution is the Smart Hook. The baited hook is protected by a shield, which is held in place with a biodegradable pin.

The pin dissolves once the hook is below the feeding depth of seabirds (25 meters) and turtles (100 meters). Once the pin dissolves, the shield is released and the baited hook is ready for fishing.

The shield and the pin are both made of a metal alloy which dissolves leaving no contaminants in the ocean, thus very environmental friendly.

Jusseit’s  next steps are to attract investors to mass produce the Smart Hook and set up collaborative working partnerships with government, industry and conservation groups to help with commercialization.

It took a $120,000 Commercializing Emerging Technologies (COMET) grant from AusIndustry to help him turn his working prototype into a product ready for full-scale manufacture, Jusseit said.

AusIndustry is the Australian Government’s principal business program delivery division in the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

COMET is a competitive grant program and applicants need to meet several criteria. One of these is that the applicant must have ownership of, or the right to use any intellectual property necessary to commercialize the innovation.

Jusseit said the idea of Smart Hook came to him when he had some free time after attending a workshop on turtles in Hawaii: “I realized that all the talk was about distracting the turtles from the bait. These were just band-aid measures. I knew that the answer to the problem had to be simple – we just needed to prevent them from being hooked in the first place," he said.
The Smart hook is not available in the market yet. Jusseit’s next steps are to attract investors to mass produce the Smart Hook and set up collaborative working partnerships with government, industry and conservation groups to help with commercialization.