Project: Acoustic/Visual Bird Conflict Prevention System

Throughout the world urban development is on the rise. As cities and human expansion grows, and untouched spaces are reduced, human interaction and conflicts with wildlife increase. Among the many species of animals that are threatened by this development are many avian species. Worldwide this conflict causes significant economic losses on the one hand. On the other hand, many bird species become endangered or are already extinct (190 since the sixteenth century with an increasing rate of extinction). In order to stop this severe loss of biodiversity, it is vital to find new sustainable ways to reduce and/or eliminate this conflict. _x000D__x000D_The economic losses caused by this interaction are, among many other, bird-aircraft collisions that pose safety risks to aircrafts and costs civil aviation $390 million annually in the USA alone. There are still no deterrent sustainable measures that works efficiently enough to eliminate the problem completely. In some occasions airports even go as far as to design and manage the entire airport in such a way to reduce bird problems. Despite more than 30 years of substantive discussion on the importance of these problems, no significant progress has been made on how to efficiently address and find a solution to this problem.._x000D__x000D_Another major conflict exists in the agricultural sector where bird damage is a world-wide problem in agriculture. In California for example, crows damage almonds orchards with no full proof solution in sight and bird losses to California pistachio crops reportedly exceed $1.8 million per year. _x000D_Other crops damaged by birds were pecans, wild rice, melons, grapes, vine seed crops, sugar beets, pastures and apples. Fruit orchards such as apple, strawberry, and pear orchards in countries such as the Netherlands and Germany face many problems with birds such as pigeons, gulls, starlings, geese, and crows who cause millions of Euros damage to their crops. In southern Spain olive farmers have problems with several bird species in the area causing several millions Euros of damage each year. _x000D__x000D_The aquaculture is facing many problems from seabird species that prey on fish and shellfish like Dutch musselfarm Neeltje Jans that showed interest in this project. Each year they face a 30% loss due to seabird conflicts. Also suppliers like FDM show great interest (see Appendix I)._x000D__x000D_Not only aquacultures face problems with seabirds, but also industrial wild fisheries. Regarding trawl and net fishing problems exist but especially long line (30 to 50km) fishing is facing many problems with birds that cause huge losses and causes the death of many (endangered) birds due to by-catch. In appendix II pictures + articles can be found showing the interaction results. Fishermen lose time to disentangle dead seabirds and endure substantial economic losses due to this. They can lose up to 70% of the bait they put and a conservative assessment estimates a loss of 10 % per day resulting in a loss of 200 Euros per day of fish (€ 40.000/year on average per boat). With 1 million (!) commercial fishing vessels worldwide the potential is enormous. The EU recognizes the problem and has now initiated an action plan (“EU Action Plan for reducing the incidental catches of seabirds in fishing gears EU-PoA Seabirds”) to save bird species. Estimated losses for North European long line fisheries are 36 million Euro alone!_x000D__x000D_Dutch Cuckoo Company BV and Norwegian Mustad Longline AS combine their R&D capacities in order to develop a system that will provide a reliable solution in human-bird conflicts. To achieve that they looked at the field that will be most difficult (wild fisheries) due to its harsh environment (rough weather, moving environment, salt water, physical constraints, etc.). Cuckoo has the experience and availability to R&D matters with animal interactions as they invented other related technologies before (Dolphin Saver, Orca Saver). Mustad has the experience and availability to R&D matters with long line fishing and other boat inventions and has access to a huge test field. The two combined make it a perfect match in order to create an invention that can solve the problems word wide and has a huge marketing potential._x000D__x000D_The system itself will be a technological innovation that is a state of the art invention called the Bird Saver. Its technology will be based on:_x000D_A. An acoustic system in combination with designed sounds that triggers a startle reflex (not injuring birds and to which birds cannot habituate) per bird species over 50 m._x000D_B. A laser system that creates a visual startle reflex (by interfering temporarily in a benign way with the visual senses of birds) over 50 m._x000D_C. A radar system that automatically activates the Bird Saver when birds approach and by measuring the flock and size of birds select the right signal for the right species of birds. Completely automatic. _x000D_D. A system that combines all technologies and withstand the harsh environment in which it needs to operate._x000D__x000D_

Acronym Bird Saver (Reference Number: 7131)
Duration 01/02/2012 - 30/09/2014
Project Topic Human/Bird interaction has many negative aspects from airplane collisions, crop loss and fish loss, resulting in the extinction of bird species and economic losses. A bird visual and acoustic system is to find a High-Tech innovative and sustainable solution that will be applicable to all conflicts.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The SeaBird Saver has been successfully developed under Eurostars subsidy. The basis of the product is the innovative laser solution with the sound system as possible add-on. The SeaBird Saver laser on its own has proven to be very effective in most situational circumstances. In bright daylight conditions, we recommend the sound solution as possible add-on. _x000D__x000D_Evidence of our succesfull solution (and choise to market the laser as final product) is the winning of the 2014 World Wildlife Fund Smart Gear competition Tuna Bycatch Reduction Prize, issued by Simplot’s John West. Next to this prestigious award, the SeaBird Saver was also runner-up on Nor-Fishing EXPO for innovation award in fisheries._x000D__x000D_Our trials have shown the great effect of the SeaBird Saver and we are already saving sea birds around the world whilst increasing profit for fishermen. The commercial phase has already started in the last quarter of 2014.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 7

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
2 Mustad Autoline AS Partner Norway
2 Cuckoo Company B.V. Coordinator Netherlands