Fish selectivity flexible sorting grid
An Irish company offers a license on a new/novel fish selectivity sorting grid to a relevant company with experience in the fishing sector. The Irish company has over 16 years experience in developing and producing products for the Irish fishing industry. The grid is designed for use with pelagic trawls and deals with high volume fisheries.
They would like to license the manufacture of this product, to a partner with experience in the fishing, maritime sector. The partner will be free to make suggestions in regard to the further development of the product and sales in new and existing markets.
The Irish company based in Co Donegal with over 16 years experience in developing and producing product for the Irish fishing industry has developed a unique product that separates undersized and juvenile fish from the target catch in pelagic trawls by taking advantage of fish size and fish behavior. Other grids have been used in trawls before but tend to be rigid. With the size of cod-ends or braillers used in pelagic fishing a rigid grid would be unusable and a danger to the crew. The grid differs from other grids employed in release devices in that it is totally collapsible. The grid is made from plastic rods connected together with high tenacity twines in their center with the cross members being constructed from more high tenacity twines. The spacing of the plastic rods can have a maximum spacing constrained by transverse high tenacity twine and is held at this maximum spacing with the use of hydrodynamic kites. The plastic rods forming part of the grid have a smooth surface to minimize damage to escaping fish and improve water flow through the grid. When towed behind a vessel or vessels pelagic trawls gather fish up with the use of progressively smaller meshes leading aft to a brailer or cod-end. Towards the aft end of the trawl water speed inside the trawl slows down to approximately 90% of the towing speed. Water speed inside the cod-end or brailer can be as little as 60% of the towing speed. The product takes advantage of this by employing a flexible release grid in the top sheet of a netting section in the aft section of the trawl with a lower frontal surface area per meter than that of the netting section. This ensures that the water flow through the grid will be greater than the water flow through the netting. As the smaller fish cannot swim as strongly as the larger fish they are swept out through the grid by the water flow. Larger stronger swimming fish seeing the grid swim away from it to avoid it and are carried further aft towards the cod-end or brailer. The water flow through the grid is further increased and the fish are guided towards the grid by the use of a netting ramp inside the excluder section. Spacing in the grid is set according to which species are being targeted and what size of fish are to be retained. They would like to license the manufacture of this product, to a partner with experience in this sector. The partner will be free to make suggestions in regard to the further development of the product and sales in new and existing markets.
Advantages and innovations
• The grid is designed for use with pelagic trawls and deals with high volume fisheries. It is designed for the maratime industry, which includes the fishing sector. • The grid stands out in that it does not act passively like a square mesh panel but uses color contrast and water flow respectively to actively direct smaller fish towards and out through the grid. • The grid is fully collapsible and durable enough to be hauled using high power modern winches and net drums and flexible enough to withstand the use of triplex blocks during hauling operations. • The size and positioning of the grid allow it to function effectively with large volume pelagic fisheries where bags of 100 ton – 1000 ton are taken with every tow. It will be the first exclusion device to effectively reduce juvenile Mackerel in the North Atlantic scad fishery to a level that will eliminate the large scale discarding of mixed Mackerel and scad at sea • The grid takes further advantage of fish behavior by using high contrast netting in the excluder section and low contrast materials in the construction of the grid. In this arrangement the grid will represent an escape route to the fish making the fish tend to swim towards the grid and away from the netting. Larger fish are retained by the grid spacing where smaller fish pass through unharmed.
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