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RAZOR: Can precision fishing save biodiversity in our oceans?


 , Updated 22:43, 17-May-2024

Around 40 percent of marine life caught at sea are unwanted species that are caught at the same time as the target species. Most of them die or are discarded back into the ocean. 

It's called bycatch, and is a critical issue in the commercial fishing industry, that leads to devastating impacts on marine ecosystems. 

Global bycatch amounts to around 40 million tonnes annually and affects a wide range of species, including endangered ones like dolphins, sea turtles and sharks.

RAZOR's Reya El-Salahi travels to western Scotland, where fisherman Ian Wightman is attaching high-tech gear to his nets in the hope that it could reduce bycatch and help him earn more money. 

The equipment consists of a camera, a sensor and lights that are designed to repel non-target species, all designed by the company SafetyNet Technologies.

SafetyNet's head of precision fishing, Tom Rossiter, explains how the tech can also be used to measure the effects of climate change, and see how bottom trawling impacts the seabed, which is another major concern of environmentalists. 

The devices are designed at the company's offices at Makerversity, in London's iconic Somerset House, where CTO Aran Dasan takes feedback from fishers like Wightman to make sure the tech can withstand the pressures of ocean environments.

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