Is drone fishing the way to the future? | Innovation


Recreational fishermen have discovered a new way to find and line up fish.
Educational Images / Universal Images Group by Getty Images

Giant trevally is a stubborn and powerful apex predator and one of Hawaii’s most coveted hunting fish. Hiding in coral reefs and caves, it’s hard to see fish when fishing from the shore. But Honolulu’s 35-year-old construction worker, Brandon Burke, knows how to find it. Watching a video feed streamed to his cell phone, Barques sends a flying drone carrying fishing lines looking for large sand canals and pits on the ocean floor. When he finds the right place, he triggers the drone and drops the line. Then he recalls the drone and waits for it to bite.

Among anglers, small trevally is called PapioBut fish over 4.5 kilograms are known as Urua.. Burke has been fishing since he was young, but he says he hadn’t caught the right Urua until he started using the drone. In 2017, with the help of his metal companion, he finally landed a 54-kilogram giant. Drone fishing is a new world, he says. “It changes our way of fishing and thinking.”

As drones became more commercially available in the last decade, recreational fishermen have discovered new ways to scout fish and cast lines. Some new flying drones are designed for fishing. It is waterproof and can carry large amounts of food. Amateur anglers can even get a submarine drone armed with sonar and light apple lures. In some videos, anglers appear to be using drones to hook and pull fish, but most of these devices weigh only a few kilograms, so they are heavy like fish, especially Urua. It may not be possible to reliably wind up the fish. However, they can carry the hook farther than the most cleverly cast lines.

Barques considers drone fishing to be just one of the difficult skills to master. “I’ve seen a lot of people give up,” he says. “They are [US] $ 3,000 drone and fish for months … but still catch nothing. So I can’t say it’s cheating. He also says that the drone has allowed people with mobility problems, such as his uncle, to fish for Urua.

But not everyone shares Burke’s excitement for these tech fishing assistants. In the fishing world, some anglers question the wisdom and fairness of fighting robots and fish.

“Get rid of all sports from sport fishing,” ironically wrote in a 2015 discussion thread on by a user named clonezp. Others complain that lively drones disturb the peaceful atmosphere associated with fishing, and some users call them “oversized mosquitoes.” However, some recreational fishermen believe that drones are no worse than other technologies that give them an edge, such as sonar fishfinders and GPS navigation.

In recent years, opposition to drone fishing has reached government offices. Several US states, including Michigan and Oregon, have already banned drone fishing and hunting. South Africa enacted a ban on drone fishing last year after researchers recorded an internet video of fishermen catching protected sharks like dusky sharks. More recently, a bill submitted to the Hawaii State Legislature this year seeks to ban the use of “unmanned aerial vehicles for the purpose of robbing aquatic life.” Earlier drafts of the bill banned the use of drones for aerial surveillance, but the latest version only bans the use of drones to transport fishing gear such as lines and baits. The bill has passed both houses and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.

He pursued Urua before he started fishing with drones, Burke, Once upon a time, he had to kayak past shallow coral reefs and drop his line into the deep sea. This was a difficult and sometimes dangerous journey. Proponents of the ban are worried that drones will increase the number of fishing lines in the deep sea. It simply makes it easier for fishermen to reach that depth. This could increase the likelihood that Hook will catch protected animals such as surfers, boaters, or monk seals, said Brian Neilson, administrator of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. However, these issues existed before the drone, and while Neilson says his office has received complaints about the drone in recent years, it’s not clear that they have increased the number of cases.

The rise of drone fishing has caused particular concern for indigenous peoples for Reimana Damate, Managing Director of the Ahamok Advisory Board, an administrative agency that advises the Hawaiian government on environmental issues. In the traditional practice that continues today, Native Hawaiians have reserved specific waters for fishing. “If there is a drone that can be found in those areas, it will be attacked and raped by marine users who don’t care about the cultural aspects of the area,” she says.

According to Alexander Winkler, a marine ecologist at the Algarve Marine Science Center in Portugal who helped ban drone fishing in South Africa, the emergence of drone fishing has increased scientists’ understanding of recreational fishing as well as commercial fishing. Is in the background. Fishing — can have a significant impact on fish populations.

But in recent years, drones aren’t the only technology that rocks sport fishing, Winkler says. Fragrant fish lures, improved hooks, and even the social media fishermen use to exchange tips and spots can make fishing more efficient and difficult. Adjust. “You can’t ban WhatsApp just for fishing,” says Winkler. Once the government understands how to manage drone fishing, he says there may be a place for it.

Despite the backlash, drone fishing has gained a lot of followers in Hawaii and beyond. Still, Burke sometimes catches side eyes from others fishing from the beach. “Only those who cast every weekend and go out and never catch,” he says. “And I invite them with us.”

This article is from Hakai Magazine, an online publication on the science and society of coastal ecosystems. Read more stories like this on

Related article of Hakai Magazine:

• Drones provide hope for fighting Arctic oil spills

• From Dolphin to Drone: Beat It, Bozo


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