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SafetyNet - innovation for the commercial fishing industry

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by Startacus Admin

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Innovation to help the sustainability of commercial fishing...

SafetyNet logoEveryone is aware of overfishing as a big problem, with fish being caught at a rate that they can’t replenish their numbers. A lesser known issue around fishing is called bycatch, where one in every five fish caught is not a fish that can be sold and used, either because it’s not legal, it’s endangered, or it’s simply not a fish that people eat.

Unsurprisingly, other sea creatures, such as turtles, are also caught up in this. This is damaging ecologically, environmentally, and economically, with 16 million tonnes of fish wasted globally every year. So is there an inexpensive, effective way of avoiding bycatch?

London-based tech startup SafetyNet think they have it in their PISCES bycatch reduction shield. This is an ostensibly simple piece of equipment that clips onto fishing gear, without adding any significant weight or buoyancy issues, and uses smart lighting to attract and repel certain types of fish, leading to a 90% reduction of bycatch.

sntech imageThe SafetyNet team has used research from fisheries around the world to understand what type of lighting can be used to attract the right fish and what lighting can be used to repel fish that shouldn’t be caught, based on the wavelengths that these different species can and can’t see.

In so doing, SafetyNet says that PISCES helps to avoid fines for catching the wrong fish, allows a 90% decrease in sorting time, decreases fuel costs by 20% by increasing efficiency, and increases revenue by 25%.

This year, SafetyNet was named as a finalist for the Ocean Awards 2020 under the Innovation Award category, and in February, the startup announced a huge £1.1m convertible note investment from Mirova, through the Althelia Sustainable Ocean Fund.

The financing is being used to scale their manufacturing capacity, increase sales and marketing activities, and expand their customer service teams. With $500,000 lost every year per vessel, we can see a proven device like PISCES becoming widely used within a short time.

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Published on: 26th July 2020

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