Imvelo Bird Scary Line (BSL) Device

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Mr Sihle Victor Ngcongo, the founder of Imvelo Blue Environmental Consultancy has developed a device called Imvelo BSL device, which monitors the deployment of bird scary line deployment on fishing vessels. The device is able to collect data every second and can even record attempts of tampering.

For many years the bird scary lines have been accepted as part of the recommended best practices for the protection of seabirds. Over the years lines have been improved to be more efficient and user friendly, but it has not been easy to determine if the bird scary line had actually been deployed by fishing vessels and with an increasing number of reports from other sea users that some vessels were not deploying the lines that assist in the conservation of seabirds, I took it upon myself to find a solution for this.

Together with Dr.Nelson Miranda of Argonaut Science, who is the technical developer of the device. We came up with a tool that to ensure fishing companies who are committed to the conservation of marine ecosystems are able to use to determine if the bird scary lines are actually being deployed on their fishing vessels. Dr. Miranda’s scientific background was a great advantage to this development as he solely came up with Ideas that improved the device drastically. With many years’ experience as a fisheries observer, Mr. Ngcongo understands the challenges faced by other scientific observers in collecting scientific data and the device can assist with verifying non-compliance. The data collected from the device can be measured against official logbook data and clearly identify sets where the bird scary line was deployed, when it was not and also compare the recordings from the device and that of the manual logbook. This will also release some pressure of the observers and they can focus on other tasks that need their attention but can rely on the device to ensure that the vessel is compliant.

BirdLife South Africa has portrayed a strong supporting role through its Albatross task team experts from their Cape Town Office. There is a strong support from the South African Fisheries department scientists that supports the idea. Fishing industries and some fishing industry bodies agree that the development of this device is a game-changer in fisheries compliance both domestic and internationally.

The tests are ongoing and results from a MFV Admiraaal de Ruiter show that the device is working perfectly. More tests are underway.

A giant fishing company Irvin and Jonson has come on board and agreed to provide their fleet of fishing vessels for further testing and development of the device.