DropS – Reduction of plastic waste from beam trawl fishery through gear modifications
On the shores of the North Sea, colorful, mostly orange or blue threads, ropes or balls are particularly visible during a boat trip or while walking on the beach. Although the origin of plastic waste is often difficult to determine, it is likely that a large proportion of these colored plastic fibers originate from bottom trawling. Especially in the beam trawl fisheries directed to sole and North Sea shrimps, the nets are dragged very close to the ground due to the design. To protect the bottom side of the gear, it is often provided with abrasion protection. One of the most common materials used as scuff protection in bottom trawling are the so-called „dolly ropes“. These are Polyethylene ropes (PE ropes), which are cut to size by the fishermen and woven into the net material. During fishing, the dolly ropes fray very easily and parts of it break off. Within two weeks 10 to 25% of the material has already been torn off. After this time, the remaining cords become tangled or entangled, reduce their flexibility and cause sand and gravel to clog. As a result, the remaining dolly ropes are replaced. The aim of this project is to develop and test trawl gear modifications that reduce or prevent the contact of the gear with the seabed, thus making the use of dolly ropes as abrasion protection superfluous. Initially we will focus on the shrimp fishery in the North Sea.