The EU fishing industry is a major source of employment and food providing more than 7.5 million tonnes of fish and employing over 526,000 people of which 88% work within the SME community. The European SMEs in this sector are under increased pressure to increase efficiency due to rising crude oil prices. In addition, there is the EU legislation on Total Allowable Catch or minimum landing sizes and the threat to close areas to fishing and aquaculture in order to recover stock, due to environmental effects of inefficient fishing which could have socio-economic effects on our community. Our need as representatives of the SME industry is to increase efficiency and safety in fishing and aquaculture as well as reduce the environmental effects.
We recognise the need for a technology that will enable fishers to preserve the quality and freshness of fish, reduce trawling times and avoid problems caused by overfull trawls. Trawls are the most commercially used fishing method. It is very large and expensive with typical cost up to 135,000. A fishing vessel dragging the conical shaped net through water consumes a large amount of energy and with fuel being the most expensive expenditure, fisheries are fast becoming unprofitable. The proposed project will develop a stress monitoring system that will increase: efficiency in fishing, safety and life of fishing gear and mooring ropes.