Selective gear technology for fishing

We work with the fishing industry in the UK to develop selective gear technologies that improve net-based fishing.

Gear adaptations and selective technologies help to reduce catches of unwanted fish. They tested in gear trials. The outputs from trials over the last 20 years have influenced the gear now being used in commercial fishing.

Review of gear trials in the UK

In spring/summer 2020 we interviewed experts about their experience working on gear trials. We wanted to gather knowledge and insight on good practice to see what can be learned from past projects. The findings from the review have been compiled in a final report. It includes recommendations on:

  • Funding and project duration;
  • Project coordination and management;
  • Trial ideas and development process;
  • Tendering for vessels;
  • Trial protocols and contracts;
  • Data collection;
  • Data analysis and industry report.

A copy of the report is available from the link below:

Basic fishing methods handbook

This handbook contains illustrations and descriptions of commonly used fishing methods, gears and rigs. It covers UK fisheries and other global fisheries that supply fish and shellfish for UK markets. It also provides some basic knowledge of how fish are caught using a range of fishing methods. A copy of the handbook is available from the link below:

Fishing gear database

Our gear database is an online tool with information on fishing methods used in the UK and EU. You can search the database for records on different types of g gear and selective devices. The records include:

  • Full descriptions and explanations of each gear and device;
  • Illustrations and photos of gear and devices;
  • Lists of species caught by each gear;
  • Lists of selectivity and discard reduction methods commonly applied to each gear;
  • Assessment of how effective each selectivity method is in targeting specific species or size of fish.

Assessing the financial performance of fishing gear

It’s important to assess the financial effectiveness of modifications to make sure fishing remains profitable with new gear.

We have developed best practice guidance for industry and scientist-led gear trials. These guides make it easier for those involved in trials to compare the cost and revenue of new gear. This can help vessel owners to choose the right gear for their business.

We have also developed a financial assessment tool for vessel owners and trial supervisors to use alongside the guidance. This spreadsheet provides a simple way to collect, analyse and compare gear trial results and assess the financial effectiveness of fishing modifications. You can use this tool to:

  • Calculate trip level fishing revenue based on catch composition and market prices;
  • Consider fishing expenses, such as fuel and crew costs;
  • Generate a trip level financial assessment of the gear – this can be compared across trips and scaled up to estimate longer term financial impacts.

A copy of the spreadsheet is available from the link below:


For further information contact:

David Warwick
Fishing Gear Innovation Manager
07876 035 721
Ana Witteveen
0131 524 8659
07815 428 554