Hydrorig: new fishing gear uses water as a tickler chain

Traditional beam trawls are fitted out with heavy tickler chains that are intended to drive flatfish out of the seabed. That can harm other fish living on the seabed, which may also end up in the nets as unwanted by-catch. Alternative fishing gear was developed that drives plaice into the nets using water eddies. This hydrorig was designed in collaboration with Rederij Geertruida, Machinefabriek TCD, the ecological institute IMARES and the Flemish Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO). The benefits: fewer discards, cleaner discards, cleaner catches and lower fuel consumption. Deltares tested the designs.

Hydrorig. nieuw vistuig

The request to work on an alternative beam trawl came from the fishing sector, which is working hard to find ways of making fishing more sustainable and cost-effective. The fact that tickler chains plough through the seabed is not only harmful for the marine environment, it also hits the fishermen’s wallets: the chains generate drag, pushing up fuel costs.