Bruce Langlands, skipper of the FV Shuna is a creel fisherman in the Isle of Skye, mostly fishes for Nephrops. However, like many fishermen, he is curious to know exactly what goes on in his creels once they slip below the waves.
For the past year, he has been deploying CatchCam, an underwater video camera, on his creels. By simply recording his creels in action, Bruce has become more targeted on where he deploys his creels, improving the efficiency of his fishing efforts.
Bruce was keen to learn how his creels performed at different times of day, during different tidal conditions and with various types of bait. With CatchCam, he continuously recorded his creels for over two days at a time, giving him insight into what times of day his creels catch the most.
Additionally, the footage increased his understanding of how the behaviour of target and non-target species changed throughout the day.
Talking with Bruce, he said: “I tested a variety of creels including lobster, brown crab, velvet and green crab, wrasse pots as well as shrimp and prawn creels.
“All the species reacted differently to tidal conditions and artificial light conditions which proved really interesting and, as a result, prompted alterations to creel design set up to increase fishing efficiency.”
CatchCam was used to film the inside of the creel and was also attached to the rig to give an overview of the creel from above. This made it possible to witness the activity around the seabed.
From this footage, Bruce has learned that the Nephrops are feeding mostly during daylight in certain areas and conversely, at night in other areas of the seabed. At night, the creel gear fished better for the first hour of deployment however they soon became ineffective after that under certain conditions.
Even more interesting, the video also showed Nephrops attempting to get into the creels in strong tides but instead were being swept away by the current. Furthermore, he saw that certain baits lost their effectiveness after 36 hours. As a result of learning all of this, he is more targeted on where and when the static gear is deployed which is great for efficiency.
Being able to haul a fleet, recover the camera, and have an almost real-time video of what has been going on down on the seabed has been a real game changer for Bruce. The video evidence has helped to confirm some practices as well as supporting the innovation of catching methods.
Asking Bruce for his thoughts on CatchCam and underwater video, he said: “CatchCam proved to be a very useful tool for getting a far better understanding of fish and shellfish activity around the gear and helps contribute to fishing innovation.”
This article was created in partnership with SafetyNet Technologies. To see underwater videos taken from Bruce’s creel and learn more about CatchCam visit sntech.co.uk or email Tom Rossiter at Tom@sntech.co.uk.