Oct. 7 - New commercial fishing technology from New Zealand may soon put an end to the global problem of by-catch, where non-targeted species are caught up in the nets of commercial fishermen. Called ''Precision Seafood Harvesting'', the technology allows smaller fish to escape while keeping targeted fish alive and fresher much longer. Elly Park reports.
Known as Precision Seafood Harvesting, this PVC net might be the future of sustainable fishing. The secret lies in its tube-like design that's lined with holes to eliminate by-catch and allows juvenile fish to escape, says Eric Barratt of Seafood New Zealand. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SEAFOOD NEW ZEALAND CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ERIC BARRATT SAYING: "We can now target fish, exactly the species and the size of the species that we want to catch but what we don't want to catch stays in the water swimming." And for conservationists that could be key. Industrial-scale fishing is widely blamed for the decline of several species including sharks, dolphins, sea turtles and birds. The new precision system has been ten years in development at a cost of more than 40 million dollars. But according to Barratt it's a small price to pay for a technology that could revolutionize commercial fishing all over the world. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SEAFOOD NEW ZEALAND CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ERIC BARRATT SAYING: "It's a very exciting innovation, I mean for a hundred and fifty years we've trawled fish and we've never changed. This changes the ball park completely." Part of the change is the fact that the liner retains water as it's hauled onto the deck, allowing the fish to stay alive and in better condition as they're taken to market, says fisherman Darryl Newton. (SOUNDBITE) (English) 1ST MATE, OTAKOU SEALORD, DARRYL NEWTON SAYING: "The colors of the fish are all still there. You get the nice bronzy colors through the hoki that you just don't see when they come up in the traditional harvest methods." And the unwanted fish can be thrown back into the ocean, still alive as well. While the overall research project is still four years from completion, Barratt and his fellow investors are confident that Precision Seafood Harvesting will eventually reel in enough attention to become the new norm in commercial fishing around the world.