Seafish’s flume tank courses bring gear technology to life

28 February 2018

The world's second largest flume tank, based in Hirtshals, Denmark, was the venue for Seafish's Trawl Gear Technology and Selectivity Training courses for fishermen and non-fishermen. These courses involved two days of studying various fishing gears in the tank and are part of a Seafish project supported by EMFF funding.

Seafish's Gear Technology expert Mike Montgomerie hosted the four fully booked courses over a two week period. The first three focused upon fishermen attending from all around the UK; from Shetland, Orkney and North East Scotland, to South West England.

Following the fishers courses, Seafish hosted a selection of non-fishers from a variety of backgrounds (Government, retail buyers, academics and NGOs) who all work within the seafood industry. 

The initial part of the course introduced participants to the flume tank and its possibilities and helped illustrate to attendees what happens to the fishing gear as everyday alterations are made to it.

With gear selectivity being such a hot topic, the viewing chamber of the flume tank gave participants a unique opportunity to observe various demersal and pelagic trawls and how they operate in the water. 

Demonstrations of the model gears in the flume tank were aided throughout by video footage of the gear at work out at sea, with the expertise of tutors helping answer any probing questions the attendees had. This led to a number of lively discussions, particularly amongst the fishermen, regarding the types of different gear they utilise to target specific species and reduce discards.

Brian Nolan of the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, Ireland, said:

'After 35 years of fishery conservation, including time at sea, it was incredible how clear the flume tank and scaled models made it simple to appreciate how fishing gear looks and operates in the water. Many thanks on a very interesting course.'

Jennifer Mouat, Project Manager of the Gear Innovation and Technology Advisory Group (GITAG), added: 

'It's the best course I've been on. Mike's experience is invaluable and the time taken to explain and ensure understanding was excellent. A well thought out course with consideration of all levels of prior knowledge. The course brings gear technology to life.'

The Seafish Gear Database contains information on a wide range of fishing gears used in commercial fisheries in the UK and EU including the selectivity and discard reduction options that can be used with them. The Gear Database was updated in December and can be accessed here.

Seafish has also recently published a 'Best Practice Guidance for Assessing the Financial Performance of Fishing Gear' which looks at the financial implications of using different gears. You can access this resource here.

For more information on upcoming courses and on Seafish's work in gear technology contact Mike Montgomerie