Field trials to experimentally test if alternative sea lion excluder devices (SLEDs) adequately prevent Australian sea lions from entering rock lobster pots
SARDI Food Safety and Innovation
Simon D. Goldsworthy
Industry have recently developed a number of alternative SLED designs, since the use of a “spike” SLED became mandatory in lobster pots fished in waters less than 100 m in the South Australian commercial Northern Zone Rock Lobster Fishery. The impetus for developing alternative SLED designs was to see if the practicability and operational safety of fishing lobster pots with SLEDs could be improved. A number of alternative SLEDs were trialled by industry over the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 fishing seasons. Up to four of these alternative SLED designs have been put forward as practical alternatives to the “spike” SLED design. These now require robust experimental testing to assess their effectiveness at preventing ASLs from entering lobster pots.
1. Undertake field trials to determine the relative effectiveness of up to four industry-developed alternative sea lion exclusion devices (SLEDs) at reducing the success of rock lobster pot-entry by a) juvenile and adult Australian sea lions (ASL), and b) 4-5 month old fur seal pups (as proxies for ASL pups). Both trials will compare the effectiveness of alternative industry-developed SLEDs to the current (mandatory) “spike” SLED and a control pot with no SLED.