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Trawl Beam Research May Enhance Shrimp Fishery

14 May 2013

CANADA - Enhanced equipment could become available to shrimp fishermen thanks to research supported by the Government. Derrick Dalley, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, said funding through the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Programme (FTNOP) to support research by the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) and harvester Jason Matthews into trawl beams made of different materials and designs that could improve reliability of the equipment.

“Shrimp fishermen using trawl beams have noted durability issues when using the equipment in our challenging sea conditions, and so the Provincial Government is investing C$40,000 to research a possible solution,” said Minister Dalley. “This project highlights how this government invests in fisheries innovations that enhance the success of the industry.”

The research will involve testing beams to determine if there is an advantage to using aluminum or composite materials, and to determine if a continuous beam or a modified, redesigned beam is more effective.

“Research and development is vital to continued economic success, especially with respect to the fishery,” said Darin King, Minister of Justice and MHA for Grand Bank. “I commend Mr Matthews for taking on research to benefit shrimp harvesters, and I wish him all the best in this project.”

Beams will be tested at sea over the course of one week, with catch rates documented.

“An assessment of the strength, catch yield, and cost of various types of trawl beams has never been done before in this province,” said Robert Verge, Managing Director of CCFI. “If the findings show a certain beam to be advantageous, shrimp fishermen could adopt that equipment, reduce downtime due to repairs, and enjoy greater success from harvesting.”

Mr Matthews of Grand Bank approached CCFI and the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Resources at Marine Institute to pursue research after several experiences with gear failure.

“Challenges with traditional beams twisting and breaking have cost me a lot of revenue, and discouraged other fishermen from harvesting,” said Mr Matthews. “I am hopeful this research will result in better equipment that revitalises usage of trawl beams.”

Budget 2013: A Sound Plan, A Secure Future included a C$2.2 million investment in FTNOP, a programme that has promoted innovation in our billion dollar fishing and aquaculture industry by assisting more than 200 research and development projects since 2008.

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