Correcting fishing gear with underwater video
For most fishermen, their gear is out of sight after shooting. Once the fishing gear is retrieved, fishermen must rely on their intuition to figure out why they had a good catch or not. But, for Darren McClemments, Skipper of the Golden Ray, CatchCam is removing the guesswork from fishing.
Darren didn’t know his gear was missing out on catching prawns until he used CatchCam to record what was going on in his trawl net. The video recorded with CatchCam showed that his gear wasn’t making proper contact with the seabed. As a result, he was losing prawns. Once back at the harbour, Darren knew exactly what alterations he needed to make to his gear to improve contact and fishing.
“It’s not just about getting rid of fish; it is about making sure you are catching what you need to catch. We could clearly see that our sole rope was not sitting on the bottom and that we lost prawns. When we got back to the harbour, we measured up the gear and took two meshes out of the top sheet. Following this small alteration, we now have better contact, and the boat is fishing better.”- Darren
Watch Darren and Ben Collier from Northen Ireland Gears give their thoughts on CatchCam.
Watching the square mesh panel in action
Using CatchCam, Darren has collected over 200 hours of underwater video showing his prawn trawl net in action. This footage has provided evidence that the square mesh panel is working effectively. “We’ve never seen anything like this before,” says Darren, as he watches a video of juvenile whitefish escaping his prawn trawl net via the square mesh panel. Furthermore, CatchCam is helping Darren further improve the efficiency and selectivity of his trawl net, allowing him to fish more precisely.
Underwater cameras are a powerful tool
CatchCam is an underwater camera designed by SafetyNet Technologies specifically for commercial fishing Despite being the size of a coke can, CatchCam is highly durable and can easily withstand the inside of a trawl net. Due to its small size, the CatchCam camera and accompanying LED lamp can easily be attached to multiple areas of the fishing gear. As a result, fishermen can get a wholistic understanding of their gear performance and fish behaviour.
Underwater video cameras are a powerful tool. Using CatchCam, fishermen can record colour video of their fishing gear in action. As a result, they can get quick answers to on deck observations. These answers allow fishermen to make rapid decisions that optimise fishing gear and improve its sustainability.
SafetyNet Technologies are working with the Golden Ray and Whitby Seafoods to improve the selectivity of the Nephrops fishery in the Irish Sea and will be exhibiting at Stand 28 at the Irish Skipper Expo.