Trawl beam research may enhance shrimp fishery

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Derek Dalley

Improved equipment may soon become available to shrimp fishermen, thanks to research supported by the provincial government.

Provincial Fisheries and Aquaculture minister Derrick Dalley announced funding today through the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program (FTNOP) to support research by the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) and harvester Jason Matthews into trawl beams made of different materials and designs.

Matthews of Grand Bank approached CCFI and the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Resources at the Marine Institute to pursue research after several experiences with gear failure.

Matthews said challenges with traditional beams twisting and breaking have cost him a lot of revenue, and discouraged other fishermen from harvesting. “I am hopeful this research will result in better equipment that revitalizes usage of trawl beams,” Matthews said.

 “Shrimp fishermen using trawl beams have noted durability issues when using the equipment in our challenging sea conditions, and so the provincial government is investing $40,000 to research a possible solution,” said Dalley. “This project highlights how this government invests in fisheries innovations that enhance the success of the industry.”

The research will involve testing beams to determine if there is an advantage to using aluminum or composite materials, and to determine if a continuous beam or a modified, redesigned beam is more effective.

“Research and development is vital to continued economic success, especially with respect to the fishery,” said Darin King, minister of justice and MHA for Grand Bank.  “I commend Mr. Matthews for taking on research to benefit shrimp harvesters, and I wish him all the best in this project.”

Beams will be tested at sea over the course of one week, with catch rates documented.

Robert Verge, managing director of CCFI, said an assessment of the strength, catch yield, and cost of various types of trawl beams has never been done before in this province. “If the findings show a certain beam to be advantageous, shrimp fishermen could adopt that equipment, reduce downtime due to repairs, and enjoy greater success from harvesting,” Verge said.

Organizations: Grand Bank, Canadian Centre, Fisheries Innovation Sustainable Aquatic Resources Marine Institute

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