We spoke to our old friend Steve Hunter at Hookpod recently. As Operations Officer at Hookpod, Steve took the time to give us an update on the charity’s achievements and developments over the last few months. Here is a round up of his report.
WCPFC approves Hookpods
Approval was finally gained at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission in December 2018 for the Hookpod to be used as a standalone mitigation measure Hookpod is now approved as the ONLY stand-alone mitigation measure, operationally there is no need for night setting, streamer lines or weights when using Hookpods to dramatically reduce seabird bycatch See Hookpod website for details.
Boston Seafood Expo generates interest in Hookpod from retailers looking for seabird-safe tuna
Seafood Expo North America and Seafood Processing North America is North America’s largest seafood exhibition. Thousands of buyers and suppliers from around the world attend the annual, three-day exhibition to meet, network and do business. Attending buyers represent importers, exporters, wholesalers, restaurants, supermarkets, hotels, and other retail and foodservice companies. Our attendance at this event was by invitation of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), following a meeting with them in Hawaii in December. They were keen to promote the Hookpod and invited us to present to the Tuna Supply Roundtable, a group representing over 75% of the global tuna market, who meet every year, facilitated by SFP. The presentation given by Hookpod CEO Becky Ingham (see attached photo) was enthusiastically received with each delegate also receiving a demo Hookpod along with a digital information pack. As a direct result of this event, we have entered into discussions with three independent tuna purchasers regarding commercial trials of the pod, as well as a successful relationship with SFP who are actively promoting the Hookpod and working with retailers to try and establish commercial use and demand by retailers.
Exciting partnership with major US retailer
Following the above expo, presentation and relationship with SFP, a major US supermarket chain is setting up to run a demonstration project with Hookpod that could potentially lead to Hookpod-sourced tuna from their suppliers. Watch this space!
Hookpods to reduce turtle bycatch as well as seabirds
Recent work in Brazil is indicating strongly that using Hookpods can reduce sea turtle bycatch as well as seabirds. This follows a change in Hookpods so they now open at 20 metres (previously 10 metres) beyond the depth at which turtles typically dive.
Awards and recognition for the Hookpod
Accolades were received for Hookpod designer Ben Kibel’s work with environmental engineering when he was shortlisted for the Ocean Award for Innovation, awarded by Boat International and the Blue Marine Foundation. He went onto win this category in May 2018.
Supporting New Zealand fishers
As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting New Zealand fishers seeking to virtually eliminate seabird bycatch, over the next few months we will be linking up with Hookpod suppliers in New Zealand so fishers in this vitally important country for albatrosses can receive their Hookpods securely and efficiently. Ahead of this fishers can still be assured of a maximum 12-week delivery time when ordering from hookpod.com
‘An introduction to Hookpod’ Youtube video
We have updated our online video to provide a clear and straightforward video to why Hookpod is needed and how it works to virtually eliminate seabird bycatch. The video is available with subtitles in a number of language and can be viewed on YouTube here.
Looking forward to 2019-20
– Sales and uptake of the Hookpod in commercial fisheries is our main aim for 2019-20 and as such work continues to develop with SFP and retailers, with the possibility of a major US retailer funding a demonstration project in Fiji for supply of Hookpod sourced tuna.
– Interest in Hookpods in New Zealand remains high; we have achieved funding to equip 3 vessels with Hookpods and we expect positive results coming in from these long running demonstrations. We also have an order for Hookpods from the Department of Conservation to supply interested fishermen with sample devices.
– Our joint project in Brazil is set to start producing results that will hopefully demonstrate the potential for the Hookpod to become the first ever cross-taxa mitigation device for both turtles and seabirds