Our oceans need us more than ever. From ocean plastics, to coral reefs getting warmer to overfishing, they are being damaged at an alarming rate. Given the demand of fish as the main protein source for 1/5 of the world’s population and providing a livelihood to 260 million people globally, how can large scale, commercial fishing be sensitive to the needs both people, profit and planet? Safety Net Technologies is an amazing innovation tackling the issues of overfishing and bycatch.
Safety Net Technologies, founded by Dan Watson and Aran Dasan combines the precision, the need to respond to finely balanced marine ecosystems, with the demands of large scale commercial fishing. They have created LED lights system, PISCES, that can be attached to fishing nets to increase the selectivity of the fishing catch. As different fish react differently to different lights, the unwanted fish can simply slip though while other species are retained in the net. Watch this video to see it in action.
Initial testing shows that PISCES have reduced bycatch by up to 90%. This could have a major effect on the 27 million tonnes of bycatch produced every year, which is 9– 25% of total fishing catches. Research on the reactivity of fish to different light types has been underway since the 1970s, but only recently have Safety Net Technologies combined proven scientific research, a physically robust product, at an affordable price and at scale. The ability to programme the nets to emit a specific wavelength, flash-rate and intensity of light so that fisherman can change their fishing requirements based on the profitability, availability or quota size of certain species.
Safety Net Technologies are also an answer to an increasing deadlock between regulators and fisherman who currently rely on heavy-handed legislation such as the European Discards Ban. Until now, the loss of profit through bycatch (non-saleable or non-profitable fish and marine species caught in the same nets as the desired catch) compared to the cost of investing in more sustainable fishing equipment or changing fishing practices. As is so often the case, it is not the development of a product to meet an environmental challenge that this biggest problem, but the behaviour change needed for people to start using the product. This week’s announcement of a 25p tax on disposable cups after years on ineffective discount incentives is a case in point. However, as Safety Net technology can be retrofitted to existing nets and infrastructure thus making the technology applicable for many different types of fisherman and operators/owners, at an affordable price.
As amazing as Safety Net Technologies’ products are, they are not an isolated case. There are part of key industry shifts as technology becoming more adaptable and ‘agile’. Safety Net technologies has harnessed the new breed of SMART, responsive. It’s incredible to think that the same principles are transforming industries from smartphones, to smart fridges to large scale commercial fishing. Products like PISCES harness the natural characteristics of the environment and animals to protect them. This is part of the much bigger cultural realisation of the interconnectivity and fragility of ecosystems and our need to act. Increasingly, technologists are championing Earth’s natural processes and finding ways to harness and work in harmony with our planet, not see the Earth as something to be dominated and indiscriminately destroyed.
If you’d like to find out more about the innovative team at Safety Net Technologies, visit http://sntech.co.uk/