Hookpod Ltd was created in 2013 but our story started many years earlier. In 2005, Ben Sullivan started working with British brothers and inventors Ben & Pete Kibel to solve one of fishing’s biggest environmental challenges – seabird bycatch in longline fisheries. Working closely with the fishing industry, the team spent the next 6 years perfecting what fishermen need, a solution that fits seamlessly into the fishing operation, allowing them to catch fish and not birds.
The 20m opening pod is developed and production commences
Ben Kibel is awarded the Ocean Award for Innovation 2018
Hookpod wins the Virgin Voom 2018 Award!
Sir David Attenborough endorses a crowdfunded project launched to equip five Brazilian longliners with pods opening at 20m to stop birds, and hopefully turtles being caught on hooks. Over £72,000 is raised
A recommendation from New Zealand is put to WCPFC to approve the Hookpod as a stand-alone mitigation measure at the annual meeting of the Commission in Manila. Despite support from several countries this is postponed.
Paper summarising 4 years of trials is published in the ZSL journal Animal Conservation.
Engineer and Hookpod designer Ben Kibel is presented with the Marsh Award for Innovative Ornithology by the BTO.
Long term commercial use begins in New Zealand with support from Dept of Conservation and Ministry of Fisheries.
BirdLife / RSPB commence trials with 2000 Hookpods on several vessels in Brazil.
Hookpod in Fiji at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, to raise awareness of the pod. The New Zealand delegation start the lengthy process of approval for the Hookpod as a stand-alone bycatch mitigation measure.
Government-led large scale commercial trials begin in New Zealand.
ACAP Advisory Committee recommend Hookpod as best practice mitigation measure for the longline fleet.
Successful completion of Kickstarter funded Australian trials – leading to the Australian delegation to the Agreement for the Conservation of Albatross and Petrels (ACAP) recommending the Hookpod as ‘best practice mitigation for the pelagic longline industry’.
Hookpod ‘Mini’ developed and initially sent for trials in New Zealand.
Trials of Hookpod take place in Japan.
Product well received by fishermen and the wider industry at the
Kickstarter campaign generates
£113,000. Generous donations mean the start of major Australian trials and further development.
Second series of trials in Brazil commences – indications that product may reduce turtle bycatch noted and Hookpod well received by fishermen.
Hookpod Ltd formed - exciting times!
Hookpod redesigned with input from fishermen and the current shape created, fitting easily into at-sea operations.
Redesign leads to testing of tiny pod which only covers the barb of the hook… found hard to handle quickly at sea.
First trials of the large ‘Bait-pod’ undertaken. Proven too large to work easily with fishing gear.
Fishtek approach Ben S at RSPB, proposing to develop prototype devices to address the albatross bycatch issue in pelagic longline fisheries.
Becky Ingham meets Ben Sullivan working on seabird bycatch in Falkland Island fisheries
Ben Kibel Director
Ben (right) is the design brain behind the Hookpod! born in Botswana in Africa, he has studied and always worked in engineering and electronics. He set up his own business Eco Electric in 1990, developing equipment to benefit the environment. In 1999, Ben started Fishtek with his brother Pete and has designed a range of innovative new products to address marine problems. He also leads on the manufacturing side, producing Hookpods from his Devon-based factory.
Pete Kibel Director
Pete is a fishery biologist by training who established the company Fishtek in 1999 along with his brother Ben, with the aim of developing technological solutions to marine bycatch issues. Pete has worked collaboratively with a broad range of research partners around the world and is an experienced commercial businessman working in the fields of freshwater and marine science and fisheries technology.
Dave Agombar Director
Dave is a keen birdwatcher, seabird enthusiast and Director of Hookpod Ltd. He currently works with major donors at the British Trust for Ornithology and previously was Major Donors Manager for 13 years at the RSPB where he was a leading figure in setting up and funding the Albatross Task Force. Prior to this, Dave had extensive experience as a senior Director in the food supply industry.
Dr Ben Sullivan Director
Based in Tasmania, Ben received his PHD from the University of Queensland and was later awarded a 2010 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation for his work to reduce seabird bycatch.
Ben has a vast amount experience working with fisheries and seabirds and has worked for the RSPB, Falklands Conservation and is also a director of Hookpod. He has been... Read More involved in the implementation of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) International Plan of Actions for seabirds for many years. Ben is also involved with the work of the Agreement for the Conservation of Albatross and Petrels (ACAP).
Becky Ingham CEO
Becky is a marine scientist who has worked in the fisheries industry in the Southern Oceans as part of her role as Director of Falklands Conservation between 1997-2005. Becky has also worked for the RSPB, joining Hookpod shortly after its incorporation in 2013 and heading up the company now as the CEO.