Saving porpoises from fishing nets

This 2016 video says about itself:

Why is by-catch a problem for porpoises?

Porpoise biologist Dr. Anna Hall explains why by-catch (entanglement in fishing nets) is such a big issue for porpoises. To learn more about porpoises, visit here.

From the University of Exeter in England:

‘Pingers’ could save porpoises from fishing nets

May 13, 2020

Underwater sound devices called “pingers” could be an effective, long-term way to prevent porpoises getting caught in fishing nets with no negative behavioural effects, newly published research suggests.

The study of harbour porpoises off Cornwall found they were 37% less likely to be found close to an active pinger.

Concerns have been raised about porpoises becoming used to pingers and learning to ignore them, but the eight-month study — by the University of Exeter and Cornwall Wildlife Trust — found no decrease in effectiveness.

There have also been worries that continual pinger use could affect porpoise behaviour by displacing them from feeding grounds, but when pingers were switched off the animals returned “with no delay”.

The effect was found to be “very localised” — the 37% reduction in porpoise detection at the active pinger compared to a drop of 9% just 100 metres away.

Harbour porpoises are the most common cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) seen at the Cornish coast, where accidental catching by fishing boats (“bycatch“) is a persistent problem.

“Cornwall Wildlife Trust have been monitoring local dolphin and porpoise deaths through our standings scheme for over 25 years, and bycatch is still the biggest threat to these animals in the South West with large numbers washing ashore every year,” said Ruth Williams, of Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

“Together with other NGOs we have campaigned to try to find a solution to reduce bycatch, that will work in our inshore fisheries.

“The results of this latest research show that there is a practical solution that is both effective and does not impact or change the animals’ behaviour, a positive result for both conservation and fishermen alike.” Lead author Dr Lucy Omeyer, of the University of Exeter and Fishtek, said: “Based on our findings, it seems likely that pingers would reduce harbour porpoise bycatch in gill-net fisheries with no negative consequences.

“Indeed, we found no evidence that long-term and continual use decreased the effectiveness of pingers or affected harbour porpoise behaviour.”

Pingers are acoustic deterrent devices which are fitted on to fishing nets.

They work by emitting a randomised sonic noise, or “ping”, which can be heard by dolphins and porpoises and highlights the presence of the nets, thereby preventing accidental entanglement.

The porpoises’ own click sounds can be way above 100 times louder than the pings from the pinger.

In the study, Fishtek Banana Pingers were placed in the water along with two acoustic loggers (one beside the pinger and one 100m away) to record cetacean activity.

With small-scale operations the main form of fishing in UK waters, the researchers say there is an “acute need” for cost-effective strategies to prevent bycatch, such as pingers.

The study was partly funded by Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s marine strandings report recorded 245 cetacean strandings in Cornwall in 2019.

Deliveroo corporation’s Russian roulette with riders’ lives

This Associated Press video says about itself:

(18 March 2020) The coronavirus lockdown in Spain has exposed the plight of some of the country’s most vulnerable workers – members of the so-called gig economy who only get paid if work comes their way.

Bikers delivering takeaway meals amid the lockdown say they fear for their health, but can’t afford to stop working.

While most people stay off the streets of Barcelona, dozens of bikers were waiting outside restaurants by the Sagrada Familia cathedral on Tuesday night.

Many were waiting for a food delivery order to come up on their phones.

23-year-old Guillermo, from Colombia, who declined to give his last name fearing reprisal by the delivery app he works with, spoke about his precarious working conditions.

… Guillermo is now using his elbows to ring doorbells and call elevators. He also tries to drop the meals a meter away from his clients, but he still risks catching the virus while working. …

But if Guillermo were to stay at home for a few days, the company’s app algorithm would register his absence and put him at the end of the queue of riders waiting to get deliveries assigned.

Despite working through the lockdown, Guillermo said the money he is making on Deliveroo these days barely covers the costs that come with being an autonomous worker in Spain.

By Ceren Sagir in Britain, 13 May 2020:

Deliveroo putting thousands of workers ‘at risk’, MPs warn

A cross-party coalition of 44 politicians demand gig-economy company protects riders’ incomes and safety

THOUSANDS of workers are being “put at risk” by Deliveroo, a cross-party coalition of 44 MPs warned today as they demanded the company protect the incomes and safety of riders.

In a letter to the courier firm’s CEO, Will Shu, MPs said the company’s actions counter efforts by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The MPs, including the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and Conservative Sir Peter Bottomley, demanded income protection, an end to sackings, and health-and-safety protection for couriers during the pandemic.

“Thousands of people are currently being put at risk by your actions,” the letter said.

“Deliveroo couriers are low-paid, precarious workers, who are not able to self-isolate when sick or to protect their families, and clients and restaurant staff and other key workers including NHS staff are being potentially exposed to infection.”

The letter said that ignoring the demands would be “highly irresponsible.”

Deliveroo has garnered significant support for publicly offering free meal vouchers to NHS workers.

But many of its riders have reported to IWGB that they are earning as little as £1 per hour, and the company has allegedly continued to sack couriers without evidence or the right to appeal.

Mazamed Goox, a father of two from Birmingham who was recently fired for taking too long on deliveries said the company “doesn’t even treat us like human beings.”

“They said I’d missed my chance to appeal because I missed their email,” he said.

“I work nights for sub-minimum wage, I don’t even have energy to play with my kids when I get home, let alone check my emails. They didn’t even have the decency to try calling me.

“I felt sick when it happened, now all I can think about is how I can support my family. I was a key worker but Deliveroo never treated me like one.”

Courier Sam, whose name has been changed for fear of reprisals, warned that “drivers and customers are dying because of Deliveroo’s failure to take action”.

He said: “My wife is classed as high-risk and she is petrified because we have no protection, there’s no social distancing at Deliveroo.”

“Every day she begs me not to go to work but if I don’t, we’ll be homeless. We have three children.

“We don’t want to risk their mother’s life but we don’t want them to be destitute, either. What am I supposed to do?”

IWGB couriers’ branch secretary Greg Howard said Deliveroo “has built its business model on precarity and poverty pay” which has been exacerbated during the pandemic where riders have been “unfairly terminated, paid far below the minimum wage and forced to work in unsafe conditions.”

“As Deliveroo is increasingly delivering to vulnerable people, it is not only riders that are being put at risk through this questionable business model, but the public as a whole,” he said.

“This work is vital and it can be done safely, but only if Deliveroo invests in the safety and the rights of its riders.”