Fish net design could aid sustainability

Nov. 8, 2012 at 8:12 PM

LONDON, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- A British designer says his fishing net dubbed SafetyNet could make the practice of commercial fishing far more sustainable by saving millions of fish annually.

Millions of smaller non-target fish around the world die in current fishing nets every year, designer Dan Watson says, but the SafetyNet adds a series of escape holes so smaller fish not being sought by fishermen can pass through easily.

Watson's SafetyNet has been named winner of the prestigious 2012 James Dyson Award for design, CNET reported Thursday.

The escape rings in the net light up with LEDs to stimulate escape reactions within fish and allow smaller fish to dart through them and escape, Watson said.

"Every year, around 27 million tons of fish are thrown back dead because they are too young or the wrong species," Watson said. "Last year, British fisherman discarded two of every three fish caught, with many of the discarded species also being the most threatened. This practice is unsustainable and has to change."

Watson's share of the Dyson award was $15,983, with the same amount going to his university, the Royal College of Art.

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