Thursday, 18 May 2017 11:05

A new invention using coloured lights hopes to make fishing industry sustainable

An Award winning start-up, SafetyNet Technologies is set to disrupt the fishing industry with its ground-breaking user-friendly technology which uses lights to attract and repel fish, thus eliminating by-catch by up to 90%. This is a patented piece of technology that the team call PISCES will take fishing to new dimensions and has huge potential to make the fishing industry more sustainable.

pisces on net

Imagine a fisherman only catching the fish he is able to sell. Not catching the wrong type, or fish that are too small. Not having to throw his bycatch overboard or discard of them on land. It sounds like a far-off dream but the reality is much closer to home, thanks to SafetyNet’s light technology. What makes this technology even better is that within just one day, the fishermen will have made their money back due to the extra fish they can now sell.

PISCES reduces bycatch by up to 90% and in an industry that is expected to become obsolete by 2048, this technology is needed now more than ever. SafetyNet have won countless awards for their technology most recently winning at Pitch@Palace and before that the James Dyson Award, Hello Tomorrow and The Observer Ethical Business Award.

So how does Pisces work? It is so simple; the equipment fits easily onto any fishing net and about 10-20 are needed for the full effect to take place and the colour of light is chosen by and controlled by the Fishermen. SafetyNet’s trials with Youngs Seafood and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science have shown that their devices can lower bycatch by up to 60%. This is reinforced by experiments in fisheries the world over, some of which have used light to reduce bycatch by up to 90%.

PISCES in action

Funded to date by Youngs Seafood, the James Dyson Award, Sir Richard Branson and Eric & Wendy Schmidt, SafetyNet have completed their proof of concept and are now ready to expand into batch production. This will enable them, with their scientific and industry partners, to explore new trials with other fish species in fisheries around the globe. They have created a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in order to bring PISCES to life and into the hands of fishermen.

Dan inspecting the net with fishermen

Daniel Watson, CEO of SafetyNet explains:  I’ve been working on SafetyNet for 8 years and we’ve made some really exciting progress and learned a lot during that time. We’ve worked hard because we see a real need for this technology, but we couldn’t have done it without our supporters. We’re now asking for one final push to help us bridge the gap between proof of concept and a device that can be used by many more people to accelerate the science and begin having a widespread positive impact.

David Parket, Head of CSR and Marine Biologist for Young Seafood says: “The results of this research are very encouraging and we now hope that the industry, Government and other organisations will come together to support further trials. Having been out on the trawler during the research and having seen the technology in action, I believe this innovation could have a positive impact on the industry and the future of fishing.”

George Eustace MP, UK Fishing Minister has said: “I note the promising results of this trial as you outline, and am very supportive of innovative methods to improve selectivity and supporting UK fishing vessels in fishing sustainably.”

The SafetyNet team have created a rewards based crowdfunding campaign and have a selection of rewards available for backers, from vouchers at Master Chef winning restaurant chain Wahaca, and limited edition artistic prints from Dutch artist Sue van Gageldonk, to more humourus rewards such as fish jokes. There is also the opportunity to get credited on their scientific papers.

To join SafetyNet in their quest to make the fishing industry more sustainable back their campaign and claim your reward between May 16 and June 23rd. The link to the crowdfunding page is: https://igg.me./at/PISCES

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