March 23rd, 2016 (Lina Jang). SEJONG – The National Fisheries Research & Development Institute announced the development of fishing equipment that allows porpoises to easily escape from fishing nets.
Porpoises are small dolphins that live in the seas to the south and west of the Korean peninsula, and are an endangered species internationally. However, about 1,000 porpoises die in Korean waters every year after being caught in fishing nets.
The National Fisheries Research & Development Institute installed fishing equipment featuring an escape passage for porpoises on two boats to reduce the number of porpoise casualties.
The new gear has a loose net that only fish can pass through, and a hole that porpoises can use to escape if they are somehow caught.
If the equipment is proven to be useful, the features will be improved so that it can be used as the standard type of fishing net. The government is also expected to update its policies designed to protect porpoises.
According to data from the National Fisheries Research & Development Institute, the porpoise population showed a sharp 64 percent decline between 2005 and 2011, dropping from 36,000 to 13,000.