Fish and Cheeps
Never mind doctors and drug dealers — there’s a new clientele for beepers: dolphins. If some lawmakers in the U.K. get their way, British fishing fleets will soon be required to use high-tech equipment resembling beepers to keep dolphins, porpoises, and other cetaceans out of fishing nets. Known as “pingers,” the devices emit random ultrasonic noises designed to keep marine mammals away from potentially deadly nets. The pingers “emit less noise than most mobile phones — but presumably for the cetaceans they’re just as annoying,” said Andy Smerdon of Aquatec, the company that makes the devices. At present, an unsustainable number of cetaceans die in fishing nets, according to the British lawmakers backing the proposal. Other proposals to protect the species include new nets with panels to allow larger marine animals to escape, better monitoring, and a standardized labeling system for cetacean-friendly fisheries.