The project aims to develop economically viable gear which reduces bycatch and environmental impacts associated with the UK scallop fishery to catch king scallops.
The Low Impact Scallop Innovation Gear (LISIG) project is a Seafood Innovation Fund (SIF) funded project working towards an economically viable gear innovation that aims to reduce environmental impacts associated with the spring-toothed Newhaven dredge commonly used by the UK scallop fishery to catch king scallops (Pecten maximus). The proposed modification involves adding ‘skids’ to the bottom of the belly bag to reduce the contact and drag of the belly bag with the seabed.
Data on the retained catch and bycatch, seabed fauna damage, fuel consumption and gear wear were collected during scientific field trials and commercial practice with fishermen to assess the environmental impact and commercial viability of the modified skid dredge relative to the standard dredge. Catches of marketable king scallop were on average 15% higher in skid dredge than in standard dredge, however catches of undersized scallops, crabs, starfish, stones and debris were more variable among sites, and varied with ground type, quantity and size of stones and sea state conditions. Initial observations showed that the proportion of fatally damaged organisms was more severe in soft sediment compared to mixed sediment, and damage was higher in the standard dredge tracks than in the skid dredge tracks. Fuel consumption did not differ between the two dredge types, but skids reduced belly bag wear and maintenance costs substantially.
This study has shown that skid dredges are a step forward in the evolution of lower impact scallop dredges. The evidence base generated will inform future gear improvement required to move towards a more sustainable fishing practice.
The full scientific report can be found at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/360318554_RD099_Low_Impact_Scallop_Innovation_Gear_LISIG_project
A short dissemination video is also available: https://youtu.be/OBy0wOPbHaI