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Coloured lights to make the fishing industry more sustainable

Award winning start-up SafetyNet Technologies is set to change the fishing industry with groundbreaking technology that uses lights to attract and repel fish – with the potential to eliminate bycatch by up to 90 per cent.

The company believes that the patented technology – called PISCES – has huge potential to make the fishing industry more sustainable.

It says that PISCES could help fishermen to catch only the fish they are able to sell, without catching the wrong species or fish that are too small, and without having to throw bycatch overboard or discard it on land.

SafetyNet Technologies also says that the technology could allow fishermen to make their money back within one day, due to the extra fish they will be able to sell.

The equipment fits easily onto any fishing net, and the colour of light is chosen by and controlled by the fishermen.

SafetyNet's trials with Young's Seafood and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science have shown that their devices can lower bycatch by up to 60 per cent. This is reinforced by experiments in fisheries around the world – some of which have used light to reduce bycatch by up to 90 per cent.

“We're now asking for one final push to help us bridge the gap between proof of concept and a device that can be used by many more people to accelerate the science and begin having a widespread positive impact.”

SafetyNet's rewards-based crowdfunding campaign has a target of £50,000 on Indiegogo.

There is a selection of rewards for backers, from vouchers at Master Chef winning restaurant chain Wahaca, and limited edition artistic prints from Dutch artist Sue van Gageldonk, to humorous rewards such as fish jokes. There is also the opportunity to get credited in SafetyNet's scientific papers.

Funded to date by Youngs Seafood, the James Dyson Award, Sir Richard Branson, and Eric and Wendy Schmidt, SafetyNet is ready to expand into batch production. This will enable it, with scientific and industry partners, to explore new trials with other fish species in fisheries around the globe.

Crowdfunding campaign

The company has created a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in order to bring PISCES to life and into the hands of fishermen.

Daniel Watson, CEO of SafetyNet, said: “I've been working on SafetyNet for eight years, and we've made some really exciting progress and learned a lot during that time. We've worked hard because we see a real need for this technology, but we couldn't have done it without our supporters.

“The results of this research are very encouraging and we now hope that the industry, Government and other organisations will come together to support further trials,” said David Parket, Head of Corporate Social Responsibilty and Marine Biologist for Young's Seafood.

“Having been out on the trawler during the research and having seen the technology in action, I believe this innovation could have a positive impact on the industry and the future of fishing.”

SafetyNet has won many awards for its technology, most recently winning at Pitch@Palace. Its previous awards include the James Dyson Award, Hello Tomorrow, and The Observer Ethical Business Award.

SafetyNet's crowdfunding campaign runs from 16 May to 23 June 2017.