Floating ‘Wall-E’ scarecrow stops seabirds diving into fishing nets

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Googly-eyed device to be tested in gillnet fisheries after study finds it deters long-tailed ducks

Scarecrows may be outstanding in their field, but now scientists have created an unusual floating version that could help reduce the number of vulnerable seabirds caught by fishing nets.

The device, known as a looming-eyes buoy (LEB), and developed in collaboration with engineers from Fishtek Marine, was trialled in Küdema Bay, Saaremaa island, Estonia, on long-tailed ducks. It uses bright eyespots and looming movements to act as a natural deterrent, preventing seabirds from diving into gillnets – vertical nets used in small-scale fisheries in many countries.

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