The main goal in the project RightFish is to design and develop towed fishing gears such as trawls and seines that impact the marine environment less than the gear we use today. This will advance commercial trawl gears as well as provide criteria for modelling and estimating contact forces between towed fishing gear and the seabed. New gear designs will be tested in SINTEF's flume tank, where we can see how the gear behaves underwater and measure currents and contact forces, before they are tested in the seas in the Mediterranean and in Northern Europe. The project will also include environmental evaluations of carbon footprints, and economic evaluations with a social impact assessment. Altogether this will improve the way marine resources are managed and harvested and reduce the impact this has on the marine environment, and reduce fuel costs for better market opportunities.
RightFish will develop generic methodologies that will improve our ability to design and develop low impact towed fishing gears. It will advance the state of the art in the design of commercial trawl gears by establishing criteria for small scale modelling that incorporate the contact forces associated with fishing gears being towed over the seabed. It will apply these approaches in two case studies, which characterise European demersal trawl fisheries, and demonstrate the environmental and economic benefits that can be achieved. These gears will be more fuel-efficient, disturb fewer carbon-rich sediments and penetrate less into the seabed. Accordingly, they will ensure that marine resources are managed and harvested in a sustainable way that maintains ecosystem integrity and resilience and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. They will also have reduced fuel costs and are likely to lead to increased fishing opportunities, improved market access and higher prices. Hence, they will contribute to sustainable production in the Blue Bioeconomy. They will allow the development of transparent, certifiable and traceable standards and processes which can be used to establish consumer trust and increase marketing opportunities. The consortium comprises industrial and academic experts in the design and development of commercial trawl gears, of the assessment of the technical and capture processes of fishing gears and of the environmental and socioeconomic performance of fisheries.