Danish fishing gear company Cosmos Trawl, part of the Hampiðjan Group, has designed and developed a new selectivity device that it says looks very promising.

The device was developed and designed in co-operation with Nordsøtrawl, the fishing gear workshop of Cosmos Trawl in Thyborøn. Ten of the devices have been supplied to Danish, Norwegian and Swedish fishing operators, and the company is now waiting for the Danish and Norwegian authorities to approve it for use across the fleet.

The idea behind the design is to filter all larger fish, such as saithe, cod and haddock, as well as seals entering the net to take advantage of a free meal, alive out of the trawl.

The device takes the form of a conical netting section, secured inside the belly of the trawl, made in T90 netting at the front and square mesh further back. Inside this, two plastic square panels are fixed laterally to guide unwanted bycatch out through the aft part of the cone, which leads to an opening in the lower panel of the belly. Unwanted bycatch exits through the opening unharmed, while fish catches pass the panels and move back to the codend.

According to Cosmos Trawl CEO Michael Lassen, this selectivity device, which has been christened the T90 Excluder, has been developed with North Sea pelagic fisheries for sandeel, brisling, Norway pout and herring in mind.

The T90 Excluder has been found to be effective wherever pelagic gear is used, and the principle could also be applied to mackerel as required. Trials have achieved a success rate of 100%.

“The T90 Excluder has been used in fishing for herring, and it’s accepted that if there are small fish in the area, these tend to end up in the codend with the herring. These small fish make their way to the codend, and I don’t see any obstacle to developing something that works for small fish as we have done for larger fish, by adjusting meshes to the appropriate size,” Michael Lassen said.

He added that the T90 Excluder is easy to use. “The net cone is fitted at the aft end of the belly, ahead of the codend. If it’s required, it takes the crew around an hour to fit it to the trawl.”

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.

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