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Exciting Update: Fisheries Researcher Wins CatchCam Giveaway

camera for fisheries research

We’re thrilled to announce the winner of our CatchCam giveaway held back in November – congratulations to Lachlan Fetterplace! Lachlan, a marine ecologist and researcher from the Department of Aquatic Resources (SLU Aqua) at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, is based in the north of Sweden.

“I’ve seen some of the underwater footage from the CatchCam camera, and I could tell it is fit for purpose”, adds Lachlan after sharing a few more words about his research. “I work in a small team working on bycatch assessment and mitigation in small-scale Swedish commercial fisheries using gillnets, and various pot and trap types” and “now I get the chance to integrate [CatchCam] into our work”. 

With a background in fishing and extensive experience in fisheries research, Lachlan serves as a crucial link between both industries.

Underwater Cameras for Bycatch Reduction

Lachlan Fetterplace is no stranger to camera-based research. In fact,  he has previously used the technology for aquatic monitoring in Australia and Scandinavia.

“I’ve had the good fortune to work in some really amazing remote areas using deep water cameras, and film species like the Sawshark (Pristiophorus cirratus) in the wild likely for the first time, as well as discover protected species on deep water reefs where they were previously not known to be present”, shares Lachlan.

Most recently, he has been diving (almost literally) into the use of camera technology in commercial fisheries. With ongoing projects assessing the feasibility of electronic monitoring of bycatch in small-scale fisheries in Sweden.

With the team in Sweden, “we use various cobbled together camera systems already (and have tried another commercial system that didn’t really work as described), but have been wanting to try the CatchCam primarily because it looks like it would be much more efficient,” adds the researcher.

In fact, Lachlan has some ambitious plans for his new underwater camera. His upcoming project delves into examining the sustainability of gillnets – vertical nets suspended in the water column. More specifically, he is looking into using CatchCam to work alongside an electronic monitoring system. While the system onboard counts the bycatch, he reveals that this number is likely being underestimated: “We know some bycatch drops out as the net is retrieved and doesn’t make it above the surface,” so the CatchCam camera will help quantify those numbers.

A bridge between Fishery Scientists and Commercial Fishermen

Designed by SafetyNet Technologies for commercial fisheries, the underwater camera can be used to monitor underwater activity in and around the fishing gear. In the current scenario, CatchCam will be used specifically for gillnets.

The full CatchCam kit with the underwater camera, LED light and trawl gear attachment.

Tom Rossiter, Head of Precision Fishing at SafetyNet Technologies, emphasises the significance of such technology, stating: “More often than not, fishermen have to rely on their intuition and experience to figure out how their nets are performing. With the camera, they can now get clear answers, helping them fish better and more precisely.”

He also highlights how underwater cameras can facilitate collaboration between fisheries scientists and commercial fishermen for the long-term benefit of the industry.

Following deployments in many other projects, “we’ve seen how footage from CatchCam has been used to redesign fishing gears quickly and effectively, as the fishermen and the researchers can see the same pictures and communicate their ideas without ambiguity. It creates a medium for communicating,” adds Tom. With the planned deployment in Sweden, the camera is expected to record similar insights.

Looking Ahead: Trials in Sweden

Lachlan Fetterplace and the SLU Aqua team’s trials are expected to take place in the summer months when conditions improve, and temperatures rise above the current freezing conditions. We look forward to catching up with him soon. In the meantime, subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay updated on our latest developments.

We extend our gratitude to all participants in the giveaway. Your invaluable feedback guides the ongoing development of our Precision Fishing products and the current CatchCam Rental Scheme is a testimony to that. Due to your feedback, the underwater camera has now become more accessible to all vessel types and sizes. Thank you for being a part of this journey towards a more efficient and sustainable fishing industry.

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