We are working on increasing fishing gear efficiency

To do so, the performance of the fishing gear and equipment is studied during fishing manoeuvres in order to come up with technological designs and developments that improve fishing manoeuvres, reduce working times and increase the catch potential of the fishing gear. To achieve the following:

  • Make the gear more effective and increase the profit for the vessel.
  • Reduce undesired catches (which fosters making optimum use of space in the hod whilst complying with discard legislation) and increase desired catches, hence increasing income.

Similarly, we analyse the effect of the gear on fish and the on-board handling and preservation process in order to improve the catch quality and increase sales prices.

The safety and occupational comfort of the crew is another key issue that is being studied by AZTI researchers. The assessment and identification of specific risks for each type of vessel and fishing gear manages to reduce/eliminate occupational accidents and professional illnesses for crew members.

Innovation reduces the working time and increases the fishing gear catch potential, increases the catch quality and increases safety and occupational comfort on board

Applicable sectors

  • Professional and recreational fishing sector.
  • Many of the techniques used in the field of fishing safety can be applied to the merchant fleet.


  • Optimised use of the fishing gears.
  • Increase in the fishing potential of the vessel through the implementation of new equipment or the adaptation of existing one.
  • Reduction in undesired catches which frees up space in the hold, adapts to environmental sustainability requirements and complies with the new fisheries regulatory requirements (e.g. discards).
  • Elimination/reduction of occupational accidents, which is an obvious benefit for sea workers but also for businesses as the qualified workforce can be maintained and potential compensation payments are avoided.

Much of the innovation developed by our researchers has been adopted by the entire Basque fleet


Joint work between AZTI and the vessel for approximately 2 years, including study, design and development of the prototype, testing and implementation.


  • Extensive knowledge of the Basque fisheries sector and the fishing techniques used.
  • Understanding of the client’s problems and needs.
  • Vast experience with many success stories and general implementation in different fishing fleets.
  • Multi-disciplinary work team.

Proven track record

  • Implementation of purse-seine with triplex replacing the traditional powerblock in the purse-seine fleet (Basque coastal purse-seine fleet).
  • Implementation of vacuum suction pumps replacing traditional brailing in the purse-seine fleet (Basque coastal purse-seine fleet).
  • Implementation of automatic mackerel reels in the vertical line fleet (Basque mackerel vertical line fleet)
  • Implementation of deck conveyor belts in the live bait fleet (various vessels)
  • Implementation of fish transfer hatches between the cooling tank and the refrigerated hold in the live bait fleet (various vessels).
  • Implementation of a pneumatic ice transportation system from the ice warehouse in the vessel’s hull to the working deck (various vessels).
  • Development of an automatic rod for tuna fishing with live bait (various vessels).
  • Development of a plastic bag and rapid stowage system for tuna on board trolling vessels (various vessels).
  • Specific risk assessment and identification models and manoeuvre and working guidelines for the single trawling, pair trawling, longliner, live bait, trolling, vertical line, netting, longlining and pot fishing fleets. The models are being used as a reference document for external prevention services (private companies) and public administrations (regional and national). As for guidelines, they are being used as training material at nautical-fisheries schools in the Basque Country.

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