Of major concern to the commercial fishing industry today is the high cost of fuel and the high carbon footprint many vessels create when undertaking fishing activities. The shrimp fishery in particular has the potential to generate high amounts of greenhouse gases, as towing large trawl nets across the seabed consumes large quantities of fuel in addition to high energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, the impact on the seabed by trawl nets is a growing concern for those in the industry.
In an attempt to lower fuel consumption costs and hence lower the carbon footprint, The Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Resources (C-SAR) has been working with R&C Enterprises and Hampidjan Canada on modifying its high rise 4-seam shrimp trawl to make it more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. Modifications include switching to a modified bridle arrangement, reduction in twine diameters in the forward section of the trawl, using high strength Dyneema fibre twine, shortening the bridle length and the introduction of low (seabed) impact / low drag footgear.
Flume tank trials in 2009 on the modifications revealed an overall reduction in trawl mouth drag by 26% under laboratory testing at C-SAR's flume tank. The purpose of this project is to conduct sea trials on the modified trawl to evaluate performance (set-up/maneuverability and catch success) and resulting fuel consumption as compared with a traditional 4-seam trawl manufactured by Hampidjan Canada. Net tension and GPS sensors will monitor performance while a fuel monitor will record fuel consumption aboard the vessel. Catch success will be evaluated in terms of species, size and volumes as well as bycatch.