This more selective method of trawl-net fishing will make it possible for fishermen to both maximise their intended catch and minimise their harvesting of non-target species bycatch.

SmartCatch’s first product, CatchCam, is a patent pending state-of-the-art video catch-monitoring and data-acquisition system that mounts inside of a trawl-net, allowing fishermen to view the contents of their nets in real-time before harvesting their catch.

CatchCam is currently in commercial beta testing, with the product due to be released in the first quarter of this year.

Another SmartCatch product, which is still under development, is SmartNet - a revolutionary patent pending trawl-net system that features remotely controllable diverters giving captains the ability to allow un-targeted species to swim out of their nets with a low mortality rate. This ‘Pre-Catch Release System’ is designed to work in conjunction with the company’s real-time video system so that captains will be able not only to see inside their nets, but also be able to selectively open or escape panels in order to control the contents of their catch.

SmartNet is scheduled for release in the last quarter of this year.

SmartCatch recently announced receipt of a grant from the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Joint Fund for Exploration and Conservation to build sustainable wild seafood harvesting.

“We are honoured that Lindblad Expeditions and the National Geographic Society have provided such a generous grant to help launch our products, and we are particularly excited about the synergy in the quest for sustainable fishing,” said Rob Terry, founder and CTO of SmartCatch said.

“Having such a great support validates our technological approach and provides new opportunities for attracting the additional investors we need in order to roll out our product line quickly to help in reducing the ongoing depletion of the wild fish species that we depend upon.”