Making waves in reducing marine bycatch

Fishtek Marine, a technology company which supports marine conservation, raised £900,000 through a share offer on the crowdfunding platform in 2019. Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, the company has grown considerably over the last 12 months.

15 November 2021


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The £900,000 investment has enabled Fishtek Marine to make a number of significant developments in its ground-breaking work delivering tangible impact to reduce the important issue of marine bycatch. Below are a few of the company’s highlights.

Sharkguard
 
Sharkguard is a global solution for shark and ray bycatch. Fishtek has invested significant time and resources in the development of this product – including submitting a patent application and carrying out sea trials. The company has been awarded grant funding, including from Innovate UK, to help continue this work. The initial results of the sea trials have been incredibly promising showing a 91% reduction in blue shark bycatch and 72% reduction in ray bycatch. The first Sharkguard scientific paper is currently being drafted and will include the results from the commercial sea trials. This will be published in 2022.  

Pingers
 
Over the past 18 months, multiple studies have been published from around the world using Fishtek Marine pingersThe pingers are acoustic deterrent devices, which attach to fishing nets and alert and deter dolphins, porpoise and whales. Results from the pingers have been highly successful, providing a growing evidence base that acoustic deterrents are extremely effective at reducing cetacean bycatch. 

In December 2020, legislation was introduced in Norway requiring all net fishers in a specific region between January and April to use acoustic pingers. This was a great step towards the conservation of thousands of harbour porpoise that are caught annually in this region. Fishtek Marine supplied over 80% of the pingers to the Norwegian fleet in 2020/21. 

Looming Eye Buoy (LEB) 

The company’s latest product to be developed is the Looming Eye Buoy, which is a scarecrow-like device to deter seabirds from fishing areas where nets have been set. The company is now working closely with Orsted – the world’s largest supplier of renewable energy – to supply LEBs to fishers in Cornwall and Sussex as part of compensation measures reducing the impact of wind turbines on seabirds. 

Di Gerry, Senior Corporate Finance Manager at Triodos Bank, said: “Our Fishtek investors are really able to see the transformative impact of their investment and the progress that is being made in protecting marine wildlife. The good news is that impact will continue as the company continues to grow.”