Skippers, trawl makers and gear technologists are being urged to participate in the second phase of projects now being called by the Gear Innovation and Technology Advisory Group (GITAG) to develop and trial innovative new types of fishing gear aimed at reducing discards.
Four projects were successfully completed in the first phase, the results of which offer scope for further development into practical gear solutions for discard reduction.
Phase two will involve the industry and gear technologists coming together to develop and assess further trials with the purpose of assisting skippers maximise the potential of their ideas and meeting their responsibilities under the discard ban.
This phase will also look to work with all sectors to develop gears that will offer a choice of options and solutions over the coming years. Funding of £1.08m has been secured by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation’s (SFF) subsidiary company SFF Services from the Scottish Government and the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund for phase two, which will run until 31 December 2019. Project ideas and proposals can be submitted throughout 2017.
SFF chief executive officer, Bertie Armstrong, said: “The SFF saw the need to develop a funding mechanism to help our members deal with the societal demand for less discards, so we were pleased to be able to facilitate and lead in the development of the GITAG partnership.”
As well as the SFF, key partners in the GITAG initiative are Seafish, Marine Scotland Science, Marine Scotland Policy and the Scottish Association of Fish Producers’ Organisations.
Project manager, Jennifer Mouat of the Aegir Consultancy, said: “The first phase of the project proved successful in developing and testing a number of gear designs, some of which offer real potential for future development.
“We are now looking for calls for new ideas for the second phase as we search for innovative solutions to tackle discard issues, maximise quota use and ensure that fishing fleet remains economically viable.”