Last week, the Smartrawl team presented their latest project progress to the FIS Chair and Board. Led by Rosie Ashworth from Heriot-Watt University, we heard a range of project updates: from AI integration to trialling the stereo-camera and the successful approval of a patent.

Our Board members had the opportunity to see, first-hand, the impact of their support on the Smartrawl project, now in its fifth phase and with additional funding from the UK Seafood Innovation Fund. We heard updates from many of the project collaborators about how Smartrawl is addressing discard and bycatch challenges in the industry.

Smartrawl is an underwater sorting device with three components: a stereo camera, an AI system, and a computer-controlled gate. Since 2015, FIS has supported Smartrawl inventor, Professor Paul Fernandes of Heriot-Watt University, to develop and test Smartrawl, in collaboration with fishing businesses, Marine Fund Scotland, University of Aberdeen, UHI Shetland, and most recently the National Robotarium and the UK Seafood Fund.

At the Board meeting, researchers from the University of Aberdeen provided an update on the significant progress made in integrating AI into the stereo camera component, enabling real-time species detection, sizing, and identification. The signature Smartrawl gate has been programmed to efficiently manage catch decisions – either to retain valuable fish or release unwanted catch – with the support of the National Robotarium. Now, the team is planning further field tests for this summer, in collaboration with UHI Shetland.

We are excited to continue the Smartrawl journey, supporting the project in its goal of harnessing precision fishing to shape a more sustainable future for global fisheries. Read more about Smartrawl, and find links to all the project reports, here.