The fisheries sector Trade Fair in Spain — Sinaval-Eurofishing 2011 — was the scenario chosen by Azti-Tecnalia (the technological centre specialising in marine and food research) to present two technologies employed by its researchers aimed at enhancing energy efficiency in the sector. In concrete, it involves a system for the management of fuel consumption on board vessels and a system of monitoring and computer-simulation of fishing gears.
The commercial fisheries sector is having to face up to the challenge of undertaking responsible fishing practices that guarantee the sustainability of marine resources and of the sector itself. Taking into account this context and the high prices of energy, Azti-Tecnalia is developing a programme of technological innovation aimed at optimising the energy consumption of fishing vessels and the pattern of exploitation of the fishing grounds in order to meet responsible fishing practices.
Measurement and management of fuel consumption on board fishing vessels
The technological centre showed the public attending Sinaval its ‘Gestoil’ system – an economic and easy-to-handle technology that enables saving fuel significantly with an active and skilled use by fishing boat skippers.
With the ‘Gestoil’ tool, the vessel’s captain on the bridge can instantaneously visualise fuel consumption and, in consequence, be in a position to be able to optimise such consumption. The proactive use of this system can produce savings of up to 25 % for trollers that use also other fishing gears, about 10 % in tuna bait-boats and between 2 % and 9 % for trawlers. This technology has the competitive advantage of its low cost and being applicable to all segments of the fishing fleet.
‘Gestoil’ software incorporates a consumption model specific to each fishing vessel, thus enabling the estimate of the amount of fuel going to be used in any route with great precision as well as the evaluation of consumption for alternative operating practices.
Monitoring and simulation for optimising fishing
Another of the technologies presented at the Sinaval Trade Fair was a system for monitoring the fundamental parameters of operation of two fishing techniques — trawling and purse seining — , using sensors fitted at critical points along the fishing gear. These sensors provide, amongst other data, real time information on the geometry of the nets (dimensions, openings, deployment), their dynamics and their position in relation to the surface or the sea bottom. These parameters enable the development of research into the dynamic functioning of the fishing gear, to optimise them in terms of the exploitation pattern and with a view to more responsible fishing. This research is later transferred to the fishermen themselves for implementation in the practice of commercial fishing, on the basis of the requirements of more responsible fishing. Monitoring of the behaviour of the fishing gears also enables the optimisation of the energy consumption required for their functioning, particularly in trawling.
Parallel to this system of monitoring, Azti-Tecnalia is applying computer simulations of the fishing operation for both trawling and purse seining techniques, thus enabling knowing in detail and improving the functioning of both prior to undertaking the validation tests at sea under real fishing conditions. This technology is also an effective tool for the ongoing training of working fishermen and of those preparing to work in the fisheries sector.