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Bycatch-reducing fish trap wins $20,000

New fish trap that allows unwanted fish to escape wins award. Photo by: Tim McClanahan/WCS.
New fish trap that allows unwanted fish to escape wins conservation award. Photo by: Tim McClanahan/WCS.

An innovative fish trap that allows small non-target fish to escape has won a new content by RARE Conservation and National Geographic to fund solutions to overfishing. Developed through studies in Curaçao and Kenya with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the trap has gaps for juvenile fish to swim out of reportedly reducing bycatch by 80 percent. The entry won a $20,000 grant.

“Tim McClanahan and co-investigator Ayana Johnson’s project demonstrates how the science of conservation can be used for practical solutions that benefit both people and wildlife,” said Caleb McClennen, Director of WCS’s Marine Programs in a press release. “We thank RARE and for all those who voted for this project for recognizing Tim’s work.”

The traps are cheap and low-tech meaning they can easily be deployed in developing countries.

The first-ever contest included over 100 applications. The top 10 projects were picked by judges with the winners selected by the public. Runners-up, winning $5,000 in funding, were “Fresh. Fair. Fish.” in Canada and “Defending the Heart of Marine Biodiversity: Community Stewardship of Raja Ampat’s Reefs” in Raja Ampat.

“For too long the conservation community has focused on problems,” said Brett Jenks, president and CEO of RARE Conservation. “But there are a lot of working solutions in remote parts of the planet. These finalists, and particularly the winners, prove just that. By sharing their solutions with the world, they are improving conservation everywhere.”

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