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Search for Lost Fishing Gear


Study and Development of Hydroacoustical Search Methods of the Lost Fishing Gear

Tech Area / Field

  • INS-MEA/Measuring Instruments/Instrumentation

7 Project terminated before completion

Registration date

Senior Project Manager
Lapidus O V

Leading Institute
NII Morfizpribor, Russia, St Petersburg

Supporting institutes

  • Kamchatka Research Institute of Fishery and Oceanography, Russia, Kamchatka reg., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky


  • Queen's University of Belfast / Shool of Biology and Biochemistry, UK, Belfast\nNational Marine Fisheries Service /Kodiak Fisheries Research Center, USA, Kodiak

Project summary

The project objective is the research and development of sonar methods of lost fishing gear detection.

The problem of loss of fishing gear has become, under ever-increasing fishery load on sea organism populations and growing ecological requirements, very astute in recent years. Lost to various causes are thousands of fishing gear units of all kinds - bottom and midwater trawls, seines, nets, drags, lines, but of a key importance are the losses of pots for catching (he bottom invertebrates: crab, shrimp, whelk, octopus etc. The lost pots keep on trapping sea organisms and causing their death. The damage due to lost fishing gear, which by the world's data runs into hundreds of million dollars annually, adds up of the cost of the fishing gear proper, cost of organisms (especially, crabs) perished in pots, and the damage caused by bottom littering and disruption of fishery operations.

In the areas off Kamchatka Peninsula, a study was carried out on the feasibility of employing the underwater television to search for sunken fishing gear. It has been established that the underwater television is incapable of finding sunken fishing gear in survey of large bottom areas, as the detection of objects on the bottom is possible only at very small towing speeds of the apparatus. Besides, the swath width is small due to limited transparency of water. Of a much greater potential in surveying of large bottom areas are the methods of underwater acoustics. Sonar equipment can carry out undersea search in swaths hundreds of meters wide at towing speeds of several knots. Today, however, there are no studies to afford the substantiation for selection of the sonar type and operating mode for efficient search of fishing gear.

The present work will analyze the hydrological conditions in the areas of the lost fishing gear locations, and the probable densities of its position on the bottom. The sound reflectivity of fishing gear will be determined and requirements to sonars for the search of fishing gear on the bottom will be specified. Feasibility estimates will be made relative to the assessment of ecological and economical damage caused by lost fishing gear, its search and mapping costs. Proposals will be made on outfitting of sea expeditions for sonar search for lost fishing gear and preparation of its salvage.

Potential role of the foreign collaborator

The potential role of the foreign collaborator lies in the informational exchange on the matters related to the ecological problems, which arise in fishing for sea organisms, as well as to the areas of possible loss of fishing gear.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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