Finalist, Innovation Category
Dave Kellian is one of New Zealand’s most experienced commercial fishers, but it is his innovative ideas to keep seabirds from harm around fishing boats, and his incredible drive to see seabird deaths from fishing become a thing of the past, that are inspiring change worldwide. When scientists first raised concerns about the impact of tuna fishing on seabirds in the early 1990s, Dave began working with a local engineering firm and manufactured a prototype device.
Through international collaboration with fishers and engineers, his underwater bait setting device is now close to commercial manufacture. A similar problem with bottom longline fishing used to catch demersal fish inspired Dave to create a prototype that is being sea tested and holds great promise in many fisheries that pose risks for seabirds. Dave has dedicated the last twenty years of his life to developing new fishing techniques that fishers can use to avoid harming seabirds, and spreading the word about ‘seabird smart fishing’ in New Zealand and in the wider Southern Hemisphere.
About Dave Kellian
Dave Kellian has been passionate about the sustainability of fisheries throughout his 30-year career. In the 1990s, Dave became concerned about seabird deaths in fishing, and developed two different devices that set baited hooks underwater, out of reach of seabirds. Dave has put his fishing career on hold twice to work as a liaison officer to spread ‘seabird smart’ fishing practices amongst his fishing peers in New Zealand, and abroad. Dave has recently been selected by conservation and fishing bodies to help create a marine spatial plan for the Hauraki Gulf, and in 2004 Dave won a New Zealand Green Ribbon Award for his conservation efforts.