80 Million tons of fish is being hauled from marine waters annually over the last decades. Fishing is being carried out by increasingly larger ships that require more fuel. This does not necessarily lead to a larger catch, but has a larger impact on the environment through CO2 emissions.
Bult believes that it can be done differently and that it is time for a new approach to selectively catch fish with less fuel. “The challenge is to increase the catch efficiency while at the same time reducing fuel use and minimising discards and fishing impacts on the stocks. The aim of our project is to develop new techniques that allow for luring and catching fish by means of light, sound and smell, aimed at a more selective and sustainable fishery.”
“Research shows that windmill parks attract fish that thrive in this environment. We also know that sound, light and smell attracts fish. If we combine this knowledge we can fish selectively, reducing unwanted catches.” A big challenge is fuel reduction. “Globally, fisheries use over 40 billion litres of fuel on an annual basis. You could fill lake IJssel with that amount within 12 years.” Bult wants to show the potential of his idea by setting up experiments. “A lot can be won if we combine windmill parks with fishing grounds and use ‘smart bait’ such as sound, smell and light. Nobody has ever tried this before. The big challenge is to find out how to best lure the fish using smart techniques and then catch them selectively”.
According to Tammo Bult, Wageningen UR is the institute for executing this work: “The Netherlands is known for its water works. At Wageningen UR we bring together over 200 researchers with marine knowledge of biology, aquaculture, fisheries, sea, and nature. Combining these experts and expertise allows us to face this challenge.”
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