Cefas sees discards hope in USA gear design – Fishupdate.com

Cefas sees discards hope in USA gear design Published:  10 October, 2007

Dr Andrew Revill, fisheries scientist

DR Andrew Revill, fisheries scientist and gear technologist from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas), will travel to Rhode Island in the USA in late October to meet the net-maker of an innovative haddock trawl that could significantly cut discards.

Dr Revill and Cefas have been working closely with fishermen around the UK for several years to develop collaborative and effective ways to reduce discards in UK fisheries. Continuing that collaboration, Andy will be joined on his travels by Arnold Locker (Locker Trawlers, Whitby), representing the UK’s National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), and Seafish’s senior gear technologist Ken Arkley.

They will meet Jon Knight – founder of Superior Trawls in Rhode Island and the net-maker who makes the innovative trawl design for local fishermen in New England. The haddock trawl is reported to target haddock and whiting selectively in a mixed gadoid fishery while allowing the majority of cod to be released unharmed.

The UK group will meet American fishermen who jointly collaborated on the development of the new trawl and who use it on a commercial basis. The three will also meet scientists at the University of Rhode Island who have undertaken a substantive scientific assessment of this gear in the Atlantic fisheries off the New England coast.

Andy Revill said: “The trawl design looks promising and could potentially reduce cod catches and discards in some of our mixed fisheries. If this trawl functions well in UK waters it could be a valuable tool to aid cod recovery, particularly where tight restrictions regarding cod quotas currently exist.”

Reports from the USA trials indicate that the haddock trawl enables most cod to swim free, unharmed. The Rhode Island design is used, and legislated for, in the northeast Atlantic as a cod-conservation tool. It allows fishermen to continue to fish for haddock in areas where they would otherwise be banned because of cod bycatch restrictions.

Arnold Locker said: “I think the testing of this trawl in the UK is a very good idea and well worth pursuing. We hope the eventual outcome will be commercially viable.”

Defra has agreed to fund the trip and subsequent UK sea trials, but Seafish have also recently pledged a significant amount to help to ensure the smooth running of the gear trials in the UK.

Following the USA visit, Cefas will bring the Rhode Island trawl back to Britain and, with the help of the fishing industry, test it on a pilot basis in the North Sea during November. A report about the USA visit and the subsequent North Sea sea trials will follow in December.

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