Icelandic development company Optitog, which has been developing and trialling a system of fishing with light to herd shrimp into trawl gear, has been recognised with an award from the Thorsteinn Ingi Sigfússon Memorial Development Fund.
The award was presented to Optitog managing director Halla Jónsdóttir at an event at the University of Iceland by Jón Atli Benediktsson.
This is the second time that an award has been made from the fund, which specifically aims to support interest in innovation and to provide practical support for innovators, students or scientists who are in some way working on development projects or research.
Optitog has been active since 2003 and was set up by Einar Hreinsson, Geir Guðmundsson og Halla Jónsdóttir, later joined by Torfi Thórhallsson, with the aim of reducing the environmental footprint of fisheries, particularly in reducing the carbon emission levels of trawl fisheries and to protect nursery areas.
The research that has been carried out shows that shrimp (Pandalus borealis) can be stimulated and herded using lights into a trawl without needing ground contact. As a result, the Optitog method ticks all the boxes in saving fuel, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and reducing seabed contact.
The latest research has demonstrated that the lights double the amount of shrimp herded into the gear when fishing without ground contact.
Fishing company Tjaldtangi, which operates shrimp trawler Klakkur, the Marine Research Institute, the University of Reykjavík, IceTec, the Iceland Ocean Cluster and the Icelandic Research Fund have all supported Optitog’s work.