European association for the promotion of sustainable and responsible fisheries

  

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Innovation & Technology

Boats fishing at sea with birds
Photo credit: Comité départemental des pêches et élevages marins du Morbihan

The fishing industry is a sector at the forefront of innovation, working in partnership with the research community to develop state of the art technologies and innovations. The industry implements software to record catches of trawlers and regularly transmits data to scientists. Fishermen, develops selective fishing gear and tools to encourage all actors to respect minimum fish sizes.

We are moving from an area when innovation meant fish more to an area when its means fish better and fish less. Innovations in the fisheries are developed around the following axis: catch of new species, new fishing techniques, acoustic detection, positioning, selectivity, improvement of existing techniques, fuel economy, and limitation of impact on seabed, ergonomic and security.

The mesh size tends to increase to ensure more selectivity. Another trend show an increasing reduction of drag of trawlers under the water, which leads to less fuel consumption. Lighter trawlers have less need to lie on the seabed to catch fishes.

New tools like the OMEGA gauge ensure an objective measure of fishing nets meshes. Acoustic repellent are also used to prevent fishermen from accidentally catching animals like dolphins. Other technological innovations on panels used with trawlers allow lowering the risk of impact on vulnerable maritime environments. The same apply for rolls used with trawlers.

Live video and sonars will be more and more used to ensure that trawlers do not go on unknown or unprotected coral area. These tools allow fishermen to stop immediately their operations if trawlers enter in contact with vulnerable marine ecosystems, as requested by the so-called “move-on rule”. In the meantime, fishermen from Europe are continuously testing lighter trawlers to reduce boats fuel consumption and possible impact on vulnerable ecosystems.