Fishermen looking to test the financial viability of new or modified gear have a new toolkit at their disposal. The aim of the toolkit, developed by Seafish and the UK Fisheries Economic Network, is tohelp fishermen reduce the business risks involved in transitioning to new gear.
The toolkit includes Best Practice Guidance for the financial assessment of fishing gear and a Financial Assessment Spreadsheet. These resources aim to help vessel owners measure the financial performance of different gear modifications, comparing catch composition, sales value, and estimated fishing expenses across trials.
Seafish Economist Ana Witteveen commented the Best Practice Guidance should help fishermen decide which fishing gear is the most financially effective for their vessel.
She said: "By advising fishermen and vessel owners about what data is important to collect, when and how to collect it, we can help them make informed decisions about changing gear.
"The financial assessment in particular guides vessel owners through the financial calculations that they should undertake and provides a summary of the financial feasibility of each trialled fishing gear modification.
"This tool has been carefully developed to ensure vessel owners get a clear idea about the financial viability of adopting new or modified fishing gear."
These resources are available for download at http://www.seafish.org/geardb/technical_info/best-practice-guidance-for-assessing-the-financial-performance-of-fishing-gear/.
Also working on aiding fishermen in improving gear selectivity is the GearingUp project. The GearingUp project, launched in November 2017, aims to bring together data from science and industry-led gear trials and make it available via an online tool for fishermen searching for guidance on how to adapt their own fishing practises to reduce unwanted catches and eliminate discards.
The GearingUp toolkit was launched last week and more details can be found at https://gearingup.eu/.