Better Fishing Ltd.

Finalist, Seafood Champion Awards Innovation Category
Karl standing next to his cage on a boat deck

New Zealand fisherman Karl Warr developed a “cage” mechanism that fits in the terminus of the trawl net and is showing impressive results in reducing the destructive aspects of bottom trawling. In its current form, bottom trawling can be highly destructive to benthic environments and to species. 

Freed from the restrictions of conventional netting design, Karl has been able to create a suite of release mechanisms and he is currently seeing a 95 percent reduction in juvenile fish mortality. 

Karl’s mechanism also provides control over the species caught, and it has potential to provide real-time data through images of fish being caught and escaping. It costs little, clips onto existing gear with very little modification, and can serve artisanal as well as large-scale operations. 

Switching to Karl’s equipment is a relatively small change in a trawl operation and pays dividends. The technology is non-polluting and saves labor in sorting because it greatly improves the ratio of target to non-target fish. Other advantages Karl has seen include savings in fuel and ice and reduced wear and tear on equipment.

On a day-to-day basis, Karl and his wife, Sarah, work to raise awareness concerning ethics and sustainability in commercial harvesting. Karl’s catch is marketed using social media and sold directly to the end consumer. As a result, his customers have become part of the “mission” and the social movement. “My family has enjoyed community goodwill for making these changes,” says Karl. “I am so pleased my daughters can respond proudly when asked what their parents do. We aim to be a living example of how things can be done.” 


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