High-Tech fishing net finalist for Dyson Award

August 31, 2012 by Bob Yirka report

(Phys.org)—Dan Watson, a Glasgow School of Art graduate, has won the UK leg of the James Dyson award for his innovative fishing net rings that light up and guide smaller fish through nets meant for larger prey. Called SafetyNet, the rings prevent smaller fish being thrown back dead into the sea after being culled. He along with seventeen other finalists will vie for the prestigious grand prize which will be announced November 8.

Trawler fishing is where boats move slowly over the surface of the water with nets hanging down to capture swimming below. Unfortunately, the nets catch everything in their path, including those that are too small to sell. are forced to sort out the big from the small resulting in a lot of time spent and being tossed back into the sea. Watson, with his SafetyNet, hopes to change that.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The rings are big enough for small fish to swim through, but not so big that larger fish can do the same. They are sewn into the net, in effect, creating holes, just at the part of the net where the fish are pushed due to current flow. The rings also light up, helping the little fish see where the outlets are, serving as guide signs. And that's not all, one variant of the rings uses derived from water rushing through the rings to power the lights, the other uses batteries.

The James Dyson Award was established by the James Dyson Foundation to reward innovative designs and to inspire new ways of thinking by college students or those, such as Watson, who have recently graduated. The winner, in addition to worldwide accolades also receives £10,000 for him or herself, another £10,000 for their school and a certificate.

Because the rings are made of hard plastic, they prevent the collapse or tears that would occur were the nets to simply have small holes cut in them. has already sea tested the nets, of course, and the results were good enough to push him to the finals. He believes that if commercial fishermen would add the rings to their , on average about 20 would be needed for each net, fish populations would rise and fishermen would save time on not having to cull. He expects the rings would cost about £25 apiece once produced in mass quantities.

Explore further: When sea monsters threaten, eat them

More information: www.jamesdysonaward.org/Projects/Project.aspx?ID=2712&RegionId=19&Winindex=0

Related Stories

When sea monsters threaten, eat them

December 7, 2005

Japanese fishermen report encountering an increasing number of "sea monsters" -- 6-foot-wide, 450-pound poisonous jellyfish.

Researcher shows fishing has reduced salmon size in Alaska

June 8, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Neala Kendall, a graduate student from the University of Washington in Seattle, after studying cannery data on sockeye salmon harvested from Bristol Bay in Alaska, has discovered that the length of the average ...

Small fish recover faster than large fish

September 21, 2011

In football, linebackers are usually the largest players and have the endurance required to get through a game plus overtime. But when it comes to fish, larger doesn't always mean stronger. A University of Illinois study ...

S.Africa mulls shark net for Cape Town beach

February 29, 2012

Officials in South Africa's tourist drawcard of Cape Town said Wednesday that a trial shark net is being considered for a top swimming beach where three attacks, two deadly, have taken place.

'Dead or alive' bounty offered for China piranhas

July 12, 2012

Authorities in southern China have moved to quash a bizarre piranha threat, offering bounties and free bait amid fears the aggressive South American fish has invaded a river, state media said on Thursday.

Recommended for you

Winter season reverses outcome of fruit fly reproduction

November 24, 2015

Male fruit flies could find their chances of fathering offspring radically reduced if they are last in the queue to mate with promiscuous females before winter arrives, according to new University of Liverpool research.

New insight into leaf shape diversity

November 24, 2015

Many of us probably remember the punnett squares by which we were introduced to the idea of genetic inheritance in school: a dominant allele in each of my brown-eyed parents hides a recessive allele that explains my blue ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Sep 01, 2012
I wonder why they don't use a chemical composition infused in the rings that cause them to glow?
not rated yet Sep 01, 2012
Why not just use a net with a bigger mesh.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.