About the Contest
This most pressing threat to marine life requires a wide-ranging, multidisciplinary response, and WWF believes the Smart Gear competition will help catalyze that response by encouraging creative thinkers everywhere to share their ideas. Applicants are asked to submit their ideas for modified fishing gears and procedures that increase selectivity for target fish species and reduce bycatch for other species. The competition is open to eligible entrants from any background, and entrants have included gear technologists, fishermen, engineers, chemists, and inventors.
WWF offers more than $50,000 in prize money to attract innovative ideas that may prove to be a valuable solution to some of the most pressing bycatch problems in fisheries around the globe. Financial support for the competition is provided by a number of government departments including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), as well as support from a number of foundations and corporations.
An international panel made up of gear technologists, fisheries experts, representatives of the seafood industry, fishermen, scientists, researchers and conservationists judges the entries. The judges are guided by the following criteria:
- Does it reduce bycatch of nontarget fish and other species, especially vulnerable and/or endangered species?
- Is the idea innovative and original?
- Is the idea practical and is the idea easy to use?
- Is the idea cost-effective?
- Will it allow fishermen to maintain or increase profitability?
- Could the idea actually be developed?
The Smart Gear Competition is intended to inspire people to seek creative new ways to solve bycatch problems and to advance the best of those ideas. We hope that critical examination by the world's leading experts will highlights the best ideas in the world, advance effective solutions to make fishing 'smarter' and bring attention to the bycatch problem worldwide.