Clam dredges are heavy-duty metal-framed nets which are pulled over the seafloor.
They’ll injury marine ecosystems by means of the routine degradation of organisms on the seafloor.
Due to this, scallop dredging is prohibited in Scotland’s marine protected areas.
Nevertheless, it appears like a change to a rig that lifts the metal baggage used for catching clams may assist restrict injury throughout dredging.
Scientists from the Low Impression Scallop Innovation Gear challenge, led by Heriot-Watt College, positioned “sledges” on the backside of normal spring-tooth dredger dredges and watched them throughout trials with industrial dredger fisheries in Scotland and Wales.
They discovered that the sled, which raised steel baggage simply 10 cm above the seafloor, helped scale back injury to bottom-dwelling species and fauna.
The analysis additionally found that this small change in gear elevated the catch fee of king clams by a median of 15%.
The scientists discovered that fishermen had been typically extra variable than fish or different animals, corresponding to skinny scallops, crabs and starfish, which had been repeatedly caught and returned to the ocean on industrial voyages.
They stated further modifications to the equipment, corresponding to growing the dimensions of the steel rings and making use of sleds, may additional scale back this aspect catch.
Due to the steel sledges that add weight to the boats, industrial fisheries taking part within the trials intently monitored the quantity of gasoline consumed every time.
Nevertheless, they reported no change between the 2 kinds of crawling, possible because of the discount in friction throughout journey.
Dr Marija Sciberras, assistant professor of fisheries at Heriot-Watt College, led the analysis.
He stated the adoption of technical gear modifications corresponding to sled sweeps could be “a giant step ahead within the evolution of sustainable administration and a decrease influence of dredge sweeps”.
“Our work exhibits that lug dredges are a promising begin for growing extra environmentally pleasant fishing gear that can be economically worthwhile for the business, offers a higher variety of clams and reduces the prices of changing stomach baggage as a result of extreme put on and tear. The seabed ”
Michel Kaiser, a professor of fisheries conservation who wrote the paper, stated the research exhibits that “easy, sensible modifications have important potential in lowering impacts on the right track shares and the atmosphere within the scallop dredging business.”
Nevertheless, he added that to be really efficient, potential technical interventions corresponding to these have to be thought of along side efficient fisheries regulation methods that promote harvest effectivity and applicable controls at sea.
The challenge was funded with £250,000 by the UK Seafood Innovation Fund, managed by the Heart for Setting, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science on behalf of the Ministry of Setting, Meals and Rural Affairs.