The trawling industry is facing increasing societal pressure, both in terms of by-catch and impact. The development of new fishing gear that more selective and less impactful on ecotystems a major topic on which Ifremer and several foreign teams are working.

However, until now, selectivity and the impacts of fishing gear have always been adressed in passive manner. Indeed, the escape of unwanted species is a process that depends on the fish itself and its willingness to escape from the fishing gear. Similary, no fishing vessel currently has sensors to assess its impact on ecosystems, or to correlate it with its catch.

The development of new techniques enabling vessels to actively control their selectivity and their impact on ecosystems is therefore an area in which it is essential to make progress in order to meet societal expectations.

Why ?

To control fishing catches

The Game of Trawls project, aims to enable, for the first time, active selectivity of fishing gear to determine the species that enten the trawl net and to reduce its impact. The ambition is to reduce unwanted by-catch and better protect marine ecosystems, but also to enable professional fishermen to act even more actively in favour of sustainable and responsible fishing.

Who is it for ?

Fishing professionals

Fishermen will be able to make informed decisions in real time, leave a fishing area or trigger an active selection device.

The first trials took place in autumn 2020 and the project will continue throughout 2021.

How ?

Detection coupled with an escape device

The original idea was to develop a prototype of an intelligent beam trawl using recent technolgical advances in the fields of neural networks an on-board computing. The objective : to detect and classify the various species present in front of the gear in real time (<500 ms).

Species detection can be done inside the trawl but also before they enter ! The trawl can be closed to prevent unwanted species from entering the gear.

Use an escape hatch at the bottom of the trawl for post-harvest selection or a bypass hatch at its entrance to block the entrance. This mechanical system is driven by a motor and triggered by the artificial intelligence or the fisherman.

The development of these selectivity tools is based on artificial intelligence, underwater imaging, acoustics and powerful analysis software. The Lorient Lab has used its test tank to achieve this.