A new tool offers instant access to selectivity solutions. Launching today, the GearingUp online tool provides information on a decade of gear innovation – with more to come.
Following six months of industry engagement, workshops, data analysis, coding and refinement the GearingUp project today launches the interactive tool at the heart of this collaborative initiative. The GearingUp tool is a growing online database of gear selectivity and catch comparison trials that have taken place in Northern European waters since 2002. Designed to highlight the gear modifications available and provide detailed results of how they perform when tested at sea, the interactive tool can be used by anyone searching for practical guidance on how to modify their fishing gear to meet the requirements of the Landing Obligation.
‘For my business to remain economically viable, I am constantly trying to find new ways to adapt my gear to reduce unwanted catch,’ said David Stevens, skipper of Newlyn trawler Crystal Sea, explaining why he thinks the GearingUp tool is important for the industry.
‘A good way to achieve this aim is to knowledge-share, which is why I’m involved with the GearingUp project. I hope by contributing my trial to the GearingUp tool, I’ll be helping other fishermen find solutions to the challenges we are all facing.’
Modifications to fishing gear is one of the options available to help fishermen meet the requirements of the Landing Obligation, and over the years a number of selectivity trials have been carried out in European fisheries. Many of these trials often feature within technical, scientific literature, which are usually difficult to access by those who need the information the most: fishermen.
To simplify access to the wide range of gear trials available, the GearingUp R03;tool brings together over a decade of peer-reviewed scientific and industry trials in an easy-to-use, interactive online platform. Users can search through over 450 data entries using a filter system, tailoring their search to ensure they find a selective gear that suits their fishery, region and vessel.
Thanks to feedback from the industry we ensured the tool was compatible with mobile, tablet and desktop so that it can still be accessed at sea. As the tool continues to grow with new trials coming online all the time, it’s hoped users will use the tool to guide the design and development of their selective gears in the lead up to the full implementation of the Landing Obligation in 2019.
‘We have been working together with the industry on gear innovation for decades,’ commented Cefas’ principal fisheries science advisor Thomas Catchpole.
‘Now, through the help of the GearingUp tool, we have the unique opportunity to share this wealth of information, so that everyone can benefit from the knowledge created by the many trials and collaborations.’
To enhance the tool further the GearingUp team is exploring the option to share non-published trials, by supporting the addition of gear experiments trialled independently by fishermen. To get further feedback about this idea and future tool developments, the team will be running further workshops in 2018. Anyone who would like to put forward a gear trial or help the project grow, is encouraged to get in touch.