A NEW FISHING method has been unveiled by the New Zealand government and fishing companies that they claim will revolutionise commercial fishing.
The new technology, they say, is able to bring targeted species undamaged to the surface and keeping unwanted catch alive.
“Precision Seafood Harvesting” would replace trawling nets with flexible plastic liners that allow undersized fish to escape before the remainder are brought onboard, where non-target fish are released unharmed.
“This is the biggest step forward for commercial fishing in 150 years,” Eric Barrat, chief executive officer at listed fishing company Sanford Ltd., said in a statement. “What we’ve developed in New Zealand has huge benefits for fish stocks, the environment, consumers and New Zealand’s seafood industry. In the process we’re set to change the global fishing industry for the better.”
Sanford, Aotearoa Fisheries, and Sealord Group have together put NZ$26 million ($22 million) into the project, with the government matching their investment. Scientists at state-owned Plant & Food Research worked with the companies to develop a “humane” system that doesn’t damage either the targeted fish or inadvertently captured animals such as stingrays and sharks.
Small fish can swim free through “escape portals” in the liners before they are raised to the surface. Once on deck, the remaining fish are still swimming inside the liners, meaning unwanted catch can be returned to the sea while the targeted species is landed fresher and in better condition.