Fishing gear innovations

Hi Wildlabbers,

We're prepping our second Sustainable Fishing Challenges post for the #tech4wildlife blog, and this week we're discussing how fishing gear itself could benefit from fresh technological innovations to prevent both environmental damage and damage to species and populations.

According to Dan, one major challenge reducing the impact of fishing gears on the seabed. In our post, he says, "While most fishing gears don’t touch the ocean floor, over 25% of the world’s catch comes from gears that do (mainly bottom-trawls). Innovations to change the extent to which these gears contact the seabed have dual conservation and production gains in that – as well as avoiding habitat and species disturbance – they reduce fuel consumption. While limited, there have been some strides forward in either raising trawl nets so they rarely touch the floor (e.g. the Dutch SumWing trawl; Alaska fisheries modifications of trawl “sweep”) or even, in one case, entirely removing seabed contact whilst still targeting bottom-dwelling species (the Optitog “Virtual Prawn Trawl”)."

With that in mind, Dan's put together three key questions for this thread:

  • Where are opportunities to replicate the growing use of tech to reduce species impacts?
  • How do we replicate that same energy to use tech to reduce seabed impacts?
  • How can we pursue industry and tech sector partnerships around gear innovation?

Hoping to see some collaboration and creativity from all of you on this one!

-Ellie