Fishtek Marine crowdfunds bycatch prevention

Fishtek Marine crowdfunds bycatch prevention Pete Kibel (left) founder of Fishtek Marine and Dr Rob Enever, Head of Science and Uptake at Fishtek Marine
Industry Database

Marine bycatch prevention pioneer Fishtek Marine has netted its full £900,000 impact investment crowdfunding via the Triodos Bank UK crowdfunding platform, enabling Fishtek to develop its range of products, conduct more live sea trials and help enhance global awareness.

Fishtek Marine was born out of a passion to help tackle the worldwide problem of marine by-catch, established by Totnes-based brothers Pete and Ben Kibel, a marine biologist and engineer respectively, who started developing products to deter animals from nets, funding their work themselves.

However, in order to further product development, drive sales and raise awareness they launched the investment crowdfunding offer on the Triodos Bank platform.

This investment is totally transformative. It is enabling us to take the organisation to the next level in both product development and global awareness of what we do and the problem we’re trying to tackle,” said

Pete Kibel.

“No-one wants to see marine species become injured or die in fishing nets, and our products help to guide animals away and keep them safe. We’d like to thank every investor who has supported us and invested in our future, and we can’t wait to bring them on this exciting journey with us in helping to conserve more marine animals, so by-catch becomes a thing of the past.”

The organisation already received £400,000 of the capital raised at the first close of the share offer in December 2018. This money has primarily been used to help develop and test a range of products, including the SharkGuard - to minimise the huge global problem of millions of sharks being killed, injured or caught by longline fishing vessels every year. Early prototype trials have demonstrated a 90% reduction in by-catch. Commercial Sea trials take place in France this summer, will enable Fishtek to further measure the effectiveness of SharkGuard in action.

Another Fishtek initiative is the NetLight, which illuminates nets so that turtles, seabirds and dolphins see and avoid them. Sea trials are currently being carried out in Northern Cyprus, El Salvador and Peru. Recent results from South American trials showed 80% reductions in by-catch across all species.

Fishtek has been working closely with the Cornish fishing industry on banana pingers to minimise cetacean by-catch, sharing evidence about the efficacy of pingers which emit sound to deter animals from being caught in nets. Pingers will hopefully be adopted by some of the Cornish fishing fleet in winter 2019 following a 100% reduction in by-catch rate during trials.

“Fishtek has captured the hearts and minds of our investors who strongly believe in its purpose and products. We’re extremely proud to have been able to raise the full investment on the platform and can already see the fantastic impact the initial funding has had on the organisation,” said Dan Hird, head of Corporate Finance at Triodos Bank UK.

“We wish them great success in the future and look forward to seeing the full impact this transformative funding will have on Fishtek, and its work in alleviating marine by-catch around the world.”

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