Hundreds of thousands of crab and lobster traps are lost to the ocean each year in fisheries around the globe, at a high cost both to the fishermen and to the environment. Traps become lost due to many different causes, such as being dragged under by current or inclement weather conditions, stuck in sediment, severed by vessel propellers, or entangled by marine mammals. These derelict traps have a high likelihood that they will continue to ghost fish, by capturing or entangling marine life after becoming lost. Many studies have been done on estimating the amount and impact of lost or derelict fishing gear, and there are several successful programs focused on retrieval of lost gear from the ocean. Typical location efforts involve surveys from the air or boats using side-scan sonar, reports by other boaters or fishermen, or using Remotely Operated Vehicles equipped with cameras- all of which are both costly and time-consuming. The ability to know immediately if gear was becoming lost, whether wandering due to a storm, or a buoy line that has been severed, combined with updated location information, will allow faster recovery of gear before it becomes a problem to the environment and costs the fisherman a replacement set.

Blue Ocean Gear is leading the way in the effort to solve this problem by using technology to help detect and locate lost or entangled gear via a smart buoy. A small device placed on a crab trap buoy can communicate alerts to fishermen. This provides the ability to locate and retrieve their lost gear, know when their gear has surfaced after being dragged under by current, or allow them to call in the proper response team if it is entangled by a marine mammal. This capability will help prevent fishermen from losing their traps, improving the sustainability of their fisheries.

Our technology is in the late stages of development, so contact us to get the latest on market availability.