“Escape Rings” to Decrease Bycatch Win Dyson Award

Written by on September 3, 2012 in Technology

A creation designed to make fishing more sustainable–emergency exits for fishing nets–has won the UK’s James Dyson Award.  The award runs in 18 countries where each nation has a winner who then competes on the international level.  The goal of the award is to “design something that solves a problem.”

The UK’s winner, Dan Watson, created the SafetyNet which is a fishing net with “escape rings” that light up to allow undersized fish to escape.

Typical fishing nets have no way to let the wrong fish escape. photo credit: toddraden via photo pin cc

Typical fishing nets have no way to let the wrong fish escape. photo credit: toddraden via photo pin cc

“The devices fit into trawl nets and they cut down on the bycatch of juvenile fish and also the wrong species of fish,” explained Watson in an interview with the BBC.

Important features of the SafetyNet:

  • Rings harvest their own energy
  • Lights are only activated once the net reaches a certain depth
  • Help keep the nets open

You can read more about Waton’s Project here: SafetyNet emergency exits for fish win Dyson award.

The International finalists will be announced on Thursday, October 18 and the winner will be announced on Thursday, November 8.

Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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  1. dave says:

    Mike, what’s the special thing here, it it that the holes are lit up? Escape panels are mandatory over here anyway but this lighting idea looks clever.

  2. Emily says:

    Yes, the main focus is that the rings light up and harvest their own energy. In addition to the light, Watson’s website says that the rings also help hold the mesh net open which prevents injury to the fish during escape.

    This is from the project description on the James Dyson website:
    “The lights make the rings more visible and also stimulate fish escape reactions, guiding them out.”