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Detecting prawns leads to reduced fuel bills

One of many finalists within the Product of the Yr class on this yr’s Fishing Information Awards can boast the potential for enormous gas financial savings over the course of a yr. The Notus Echo will produce these financial savings by serving to homeowners to spend much less precise time fishing to be able to obtain the identical stage of catches.

The idea of the Echo is sort of easy, Fran West, managing director of Fraserburgh firm Seafield Navigation instructed Fishing Information – however turning the idea right into a workable and sturdy piece of kit took a bit extra work.

“First developed in Canada, the Echo merely listens to the distinct sound that crustaceans make when hitting a small grid fitted into the tunnel. Presently, skippers are fishing blind. Till now, prawns can’t be detected with any shipboard or trawl-mounted sounders or sonars.

“The important thing to turning the idea right into a workable actuality has concerned plenty of various factors – fine-tuning the recorder, linking this to an acceptable charting system, and growing a bodily construction that may work with an ordinary Nephrops trawl and doesn’t affect on any bycatch of fish. The grid will be wound onto an ordinary internet drum with none points – which was very important if that is to turn out to be an on a regular basis piece of kit.

“The Echo consists of a sensor within the trawl speaking wirelessly to a hydrophone mounted within the vessel. Echo listens for prawns hitting the pick-up gadget.

“The information suggests prawns congregate in ‘hives’. You might be catching when going by means of the hives; the remainder of the tow, you might be most likely solely catching water! Evaluation of Echo knowledge indicated that on one five-hour tow, the vessel was solely truly catching prawns for 40 minutes.”

The preliminary trials have been undertaken on the 24m twin- rigger Favonius, fishing out of Peterhead, skippered by Andrew Buchan. Outcomes, he stated, have been very promising. Within the wheelhouse, the data is graphed. The outcomes confirmed that on this tow the ‘hotspot’ was at the start of the tow, with catches dropping off dramatically because the tow went on.

Fran West instructed FN: “The important thing to this, as with all new innovation, is to make it easy and easy for a skipper to make use of. Utilizing suggestions from the trials onboard Favonius, we developed an ‘Echo discriminator’ within the boat’s Easywin/Turbowin plotter software program. This provides a easy colour-coded monitor based mostly on the Echo pick-up response fed from the Notus Trawlmaster system.

“We might clearly see the prawn hotspots showing within the trawl – the hives have been just some hundred metres throughout. Re-fishing the detected hives gave the identical prawn catch for a 1.5-hour tow because the 4.5-hour preliminary tow.”

The Echo expertise has additionally been evaluated by BIM in Eire. The writer famous: “A evaluation of underwater digicam footage after this haul confirmed a comparatively excessive variety of Nephrops… suggesting that the Echo system was working nicely.”

Fran West added: “Any improve in catch charges needs to be useful, significantly with file excessive gas costs. Nonetheless, I see it as going a lot additional than merely saving prices. It’s inevitable that additional stress will come on the trade to cut back affect, significantly on non-target species and habitats.

“I can see a time when the sort of package is normal throughout trade, and the place, as a complete, we’re sustaining present ranges of catches, however with a discount of fifty% or extra in gas payments, and the quantity of floor truly swept by trawls. That’s fairly a staggering enchancment actually, and one that may solely be welcomed throughout the board.”

A brief video displaying the operation of the grid onboard the Favonius will be discovered right here…
This story was taken from the most recent concern of Fishing Information. For extra up-to-date and in-depth stories on the UK and Irish business fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing Information here or purchase the most recent single concern for simply £3.30 here


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