Gearing Up unveils an improved platform for sharing technical solutions to discard-free fisheries

The Gearing Up team have released a set of online improvements to the Gearing Up tool

With the Landing Obligation deadline looming, innovative Europe-wide project, Gearing Up, pushes forwards in its quest to bring together knowledge – old and new – on fishing gear selectivity.

The Gearing Up team have released a set of online improvements to the Gearing Up tool – the first-ever online platform that combines hundreds of selective gear trials in an easily accessible, digestible format.

Launched in December 2017, Gearing Up was developed to help fishermen find solutions to the Landing Obligation. An online tool at the heart of the project provides fishermen with the opportunity to learn about the variety of selective gears available to them and assess how they perform, giving them the ability to make an informed decision before investing in any modifications.

Developments include building in trial data from other international projects, such as the DiscardLess consortium, and the Gearing Up tool is now home to over 200 new selective gear trials.

An open door for new data has also been added with behind-the-scenes technical innovation mean Gearing Up can now quickly and easily accept data from new trials and institutions.

New graphics have been added, showing where gear modifications sit in the net at-a-glance with new graphic segments.

The display has also been improved, with more information pooled into each panel, so users can see the impacts on one gear modification on multiple species.

Over the past year, as well as gaining European recognition for the tool and its potential to eliminate discards, the Gearing Up team have been travelling to meetings, forums and workshops across Europe to disseminate the tool and collect direct feedback from stakeholders. This detailed assessment has helped to further shape the tool into a resource fishermen can use to help eliminate discards from their fishery.

‘We know that the use of selective fishing gear is one of the best approaches to eliminate discards at source,’ said GearingUp technical lead and Cefas’ Principal Fisheries Science Advisor Thomas Catchpole.

‘The aim of the Gearing Up project is to ensure that every fisherman has access to practical and useful information on selectivity trials and we hope these tool enhancements will help them come closer to finding solutions to the discard problem.’

With hundreds of users exploring the tool in its first year, Gearing Up has reached an audience across European nations busy innovating to meet the January 1st 2019 full-implementation deadline for the EU. Users so far range from UK and French skippers, Italian net makers and scientists from Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands. The tool is also attracting an international audience with hits from users in China, New Zealand and the Philippines.

Fishing gear selectivity trials could be key in helping facilitate the landing obligation, but better coordination between nations needs to be put in place. Thomas Catchpole calls to stakeholders to use the Gearing Up tool to help improve knowledge transfer between gear development initiatives.

‘We want Gearing Up to provide a platform that can help facilitate crucial knowledge-transfer on selective gear between fishing nations and fleets so we are encouraging fishermen, scientists and net makers to get in touch if they wish to share their trial on the Gearing Up tool,’ he said.

The innovative new Gearing Up approach to incrementally tackling the landing obligation hasn’t gone unnoticed.

‘Eliminating discards is difficult, but not impossible,’ Commissioner Karmenu Vella commented.

‘Member states and fishermen themselves have done a lot over the past decade to fish more selectively. Projects like DiscardLess and Gearing Up have uncovered further potential,’ he said.

Source: Gearing Up