Alaska salmon fishermen can get rebates on pingers aimed at keeping marine mammals away from their gear. The six inch, battery operated tubes are tied into fishing nets and transmit animal-specific signals every five seconds.
We realized pingers can be really helpful to alert the whales to something in front of them so you have less entanglements.
Kathy Hansen is director of the Southeast Alaska Fisheries Alliance. SEAFA received a $25,000 Hollings Grant from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation to fund the pinger program. Pingers purchased get a $25 rebate for up to five pingers, per permit per vessel.
A Southeast gillnet that is 200 fathoms long needs at least five.
The rebates are good for any Alaska salmon fishery. Hansen says along with Southeast, pingers are used by fishermen at Kodiak and Sand Point.
They definitely are more successful for gillnetters and setnetters – a lot of seiners use them and really like them, other seiners have had a little problem in them staying working. It is a piece of electronics.
In this case, the pinger signal is aimed at preventing entanglements of baleen whales.
Your baleen whales don’t have sonar like people think all marine mammals have. They actually just hear. So your pinger emits a noise at a frequency that is not harmful and doesn’t scare the whales – it just lets them know, hey what was that!
Hansen has used pingers in her salmon gear for years and swears by them.
It’s not 100 percent effective – kinda like a red stop light – 99 percent of the people will stop and there’s that one percent that might not. But we’ve used them personally on our fishing gear for about six years and are completely sold on them.
And she says the pingers don’t act like a dinner bell for whales, nor affect the catch.
We have not, and all the poel who have used them and in our personal experience seen any kind of dinner bell effect with the pingers. Also does not scare the fish away. We see fish clumped up next to the pinger consistently.
Get rebate forms from the SEAFA website and where pingers are purchased.