Design and Performance of Fishing Gear


The core duties of this research group pertain to all aspects of fishing gear technology: sustainable fisheries, beam trawling, economic feasibility, the ecological evaluation of fishing techniques, alternatives for beam trawling, diversification of fishing techniques, the minimisation of discards, effects of climate change, etc. The research facilities are equipped for this with various installations for testing, checking and improving fishing gear, including fishing nets and others.


  • Tension Measurements, Underwater Observations and Net Characteristics.
    Technically skilled, dea-going collaborators are available to perform the required expert measurements. This allows for the registration and analysis of the behaviour and catching efficiency of the different fishing methods and nets.
    • Tension meter: measures the tension in the fishing line with digital recording per second.
    • Underwater camera: high quality video recordings of fishing and other underwater activities.
    • Scanmar, Marport: acoustic equipment for measuring net characteristics during fishing.

      omega meter  underwater camera

  • Fisheries Sustainability Scoring.
    At the request of companies, organisations or NGOs, sustainability assessments can be drawn up of fisheries and landed fish species. These can be used for buyers/clients to highlight the sustainability (or not) of the type of fishing for each fish species. These sustainability assessments also serve as a reliable guideline to award additional quality marks or labels. They can be drawn up to meet the client’s requested profile and needs and take account of the fisheries management, the fish stock and the fishing method.
  • Collecting and Delivering Live Sea Fish.
    ILVO observers can collect live sea fish from commercial fishing vessels or other vessels. Fish tanks are used on board the vessels so that the fish can be landed under optimal conditions. The collection and delivery can be guaranteed throughout the year.
  • Calculating and Constructing Experimental Fishing Gear and Scale Models plus Advice.
    Skilled net makers and scientists calculate the characteristics of experimental fishing gear. Scale models can also be made which can be tested, by means of experiments, in flume tanks. An experienced team, consisting of a skipper, a net specialist and a scientist, guarantees that reliable advice is given.
  • Analysis of Fishery Catch (Species, Numbers, Weight, Length Frequency).
    ILVO observers can register and analyse each tow on board commercial fishing vessels around the clock and in accordance with standardised statistical procedures. Similar work is also carried out on the authority of other international research centres (for instance on board other research vessels).
  • Evaluating Fishing Methods and Fishing Gear in Terms of Selectivity and Environmental Impact.
    Upon request, a team of skilled ecologists and scientists can evaluate various types of fishing gear and fishing methods in terms of selectivity and environmental impact, either in synergy with other institutes or not. To this end a detailed analysis can be made per fishing method of the short, medium and long-term environmental impact.
  • Technical Support and Coordination of Fishery Experiments.
    On the basis of extensive practical and theoretical experience and an existing network of contacts, this technical support can be provided fairly quickly and smoothly. This can be done both nationally and internationally, for commercial vessels as well as for other research centres, professional organisations or bodies. A flexible team can be called on to perform both desk and field work, whenever and wherever necessary.


Bart Verschueren, Els Vanderperren


Collaboration on the development of pulse fisheries (pulse for sole) and various wing types (SumWing and others), the Hydrorig, the FIBER-gear, the T-Line, alternative beam trawl, and fishing with pots and traps.