WhaleSafe Gear 

WhaleSafe Gear fisher consultation program

CWI is proud of the Campobello Whale Rescue Team and the work that we do to disentangle whales from fishing gear and rope of any kind. But we know that this is not a long term strategy for success. Fishers must adopt methods that permit them to continue their livelihoods while reducing the amount of rope in the water column. We cannot expect them to make these changes on their own. That is where our Whale Safe Gear Consultation Program comes in. Through this effort, we hope to be able to collect, curate and disseminate useful, practical information, without hype or sales pitches, regarding the technologies that are currently available, their costs, their benefits and the experiences of fishers who have tested them. 

We believe that fishers should be the ones making the decisions on how  to fish, in a way that is safe for whales, but still allows  fishers to maintain their livelihoods. So, they need to be part of the solution; helping to design it. We will convey their thoughts, ideas and concerns to equipment manufacturers and governments.

Ours is an evolving effort. We will be holding meetings, "Show and Tells," field trials, consulting fishers,  and more, in order to give as many fishers as possible the opportunity to actually see and touch ,and potentially try, the various gear that is out there. We believe that an informed fisher can make better decisions that allow them to maintain their livelihoods while protecting whales.

We'll present the facts objectively and leave it to the fishers to make their decisions on how best to move away from the current situation to one where whales and fishers can all thrive.

We are partnering with Sustainable Seas Technology Inc., of Middle Haddam, CT, USA, in this effort. See how their work has helped reopen the black sea bass fishing area through the use of rope on demand fishing gear.

The Canadian Whale Institute is an active member of the Ropeless Consortium.

We welcome feedback on this effort.

A note on terminology: Some people call this "ropeless fishing gear." However, this is inaccurate as these systems still use rope to connect the trap to the surface. It would be better to call this "rope on demand" or "end-line on demand" or a similar name that conveys the concept more accurately - keeping rope out of the water column except when needed to haul traps.

The Canadian Whale Institute, together with Sustainable Seas Technology, presented available rope-on-demand technologies at the Fundy North Fishermen's  Association Annual General Meeting on March 23, 2022

Kim Sawicki, of Sustainable Seas Technology, explaining rope-on-demand fishing gear at the Fish Canada WorkBoat Canada show in Moncton, NB on March 25, 2022.

Companies making gear that we consider part of the WhaleSafe Gear effort - listed alphabetically.


Ashored is a Nova Scotia based company manufacturing "Rope on Command" fishing systems.

Blue Ocean Gear

Blue Ocean Gear , out of San Mateo, California, makes a Smart Buoy that allows the tracking of fishing gear using satellite or radio.

Desert Star Systems

Desert Star Systems, based in Monterey, California, makes acoustic release mechanisms and ropeless fishing systems.


EdgeTech, located in West Wareham, Massachusetts,  is a manufacturer of many underwater technologies. Of particular interest to fishers is their ropeless fishing system and the associated  Trap Tracker App.


Fiomarine in Tasmania, Australia, makes the Fiobuoy range of rope-on-demand systems.


Longsoaker is a Washington state based manufacturer of timed release fishing systems, utilizing simple, low cost release mechanisms.

Ropeless Systems

Ropeless Systems of Biddeford, ME, USA, is a manufacturer of the Ropeless Riser air bag recovery system.


SubSeaSonics manufacturers acoustic and timed release mechanisms for underwater recovery systems.

For a brief overview of the gear in action, please see this informative Video produced by by NOAA