In purse seine fishing it is difficult to assess the catch before it is crowded on side of the fishing vessel. Release of fish after crowding has received increased focus as research has shown that crowded fish that are released have a low survival rate. Hence it is of huge importance for the fishery management and for the sustainability of the industry to have tools available to make early assessment of the catch. As long as it is unknown how much fish is released it is difficult to determine the impact of purse seine fishing and thus determine how much fish should be caught each year
Researchers at IMR have now solved the challenge. They have invented a cannon sampler that makes it possible to assess the fish in the seine before the fish is crowded. The sampler, which is developed in close cooperation with Norwegian seine fishermen, can give a representative sample of the school of fish, hereby revealing the fish size, species and quality. This can contribute to less dead fish being dumped. It also increases the profitability of seine fishing, as there are large prize differences between smaller and larger fish. You can watch a video of how it works here
The project has international potential, as the world’s purse seine fleet is large. 30 million tons of fish is caught each year with purse seines. Abroad there are also strict rules against releasing fish. In Peru, the world’s largest seine fishery, it is illegal to release fish, and if the catch contains undersized fish, it results in high fines and closure of fishing grounds.
The technology has both an economic and an environmental aspect.
The latter has been acknowledged by World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF). Senior Engineer Jostein Saltskår (IMR), Senior Researcher Bjørnar Isaksen (IMR) and senior Researcher Kurt Hansen (SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture in Hirtshals) recently won the WWF ”International Smart Gear Competition 2014” for the invention. It is the first time Norwegians win the international environmental competition
BTO are commercialising the project, named Catch Control. Business developer Steffen Boga and Senior Business developer Ingmar Høgøy is running the project, which is funded by FORNY2020 over two year period.
You can read the Bergens Tidende article here
Pictures: Institute of Marine Research and SINTEF