Modifying the Sumwing hydrofoil for fishing on hard ground (Rockwing) (RD214)


The Western Fish Producers’ Organisation will adapt the Sumwing trawl for hard, rocky seabeds and test its viability, to determine whether this innovative gear could be used by the UK’s entire beam trawl fleet.

Funding Amount:


Duration of Project:

12 months

Project Summary:

We will adapt the Sumwing trawl so it can used on hard ground. The Sumwing is a new beam trawl that uses a hydrofoil wing instead of the traditional cylindrical beam. The wing uses hydrodynamics to fly just above the seabed, rather than using weight to stay on the seabed. This has a dual benefit of reducing fuel consumption and seabed impact. The SW beam trawl industry trialled this gear in 2021 (Seafish report SR761). The Sumwing currently can only be used with ‘open’ gear and on soft, clean ground. However, the majority of UK beamers fish on hard, rocky, undulating ground (hard ground). Therefore, the Sumwing has limited scope for adoption and needs to be redesigned to meet the needs of the UK beam trawl fleet.

The SW industry have collaborated with the Dutch inventor of the Sumwing to discuss the redesign. This project will redesign, build and carry out sea trials to test whether the hydrodynamics of the modified Sumwing (Rockwing) operate effectively over hard ground. The redesigned Sumwing (Rockwing) will be tested against traditional beam trawl gear to assess fuel efficiency and seabed contact. The trial will open the Sumwing technology to many more vessels in the UK. The original Sumwing achieved 40% reduction in fuel consumption. We are hoping that the Rockwing will achieve similar results and be able to be used by the entire beam trawl fleet.

(Note: the gear displayed in the image is of the original Sumwing)

STATUS: Ongoing

Project Lead

Western Fish Producers' Organisation