A Dutch fisherman, Jaap van der Vis from Texel is trying a new alternative to traditional beam trawling which is the folding shoe or slapslof. Photo: NH Nieuws
Dutch fishermen in Texel are trying new alternatives to traditional beam trawling now that the European Union has banned the electric-pulse fishing method.
Beam trawler owners in the Netherlands were hoping that electric-pulse fishing would be the future for the industry.
“It was top fishing. We saved up to seventy percent on fuel and CO2 emissions,” fisherman Jaap van der Vis told NH Nieuws.
Not to be disheartened by the ban, Jaap is looking for new ways to improve fishing and reduce costs. Together with HFK Engineering, Van der Vis wants to breathe new life into the sumwing gear with the ‘folding shoe’ or also known as the ‘slapslof’.
Jaap ran a test for ten weeks with the folding shoe on the old fishing gear with chains. “It is lighter and we catch more fish. It is a ray of hope.”
The folding shoe is intended to lighten the traditional fishing gear by removing very heavy chains. Those chains are in a heap at the Van der Vis warehouse in Oosterend.
“We are almost back to square one. These chains are so much heavier than the pulse hoses. We will soon be burning some fifty to sixty percent more diesel oil again. The folding shoe ensures that the chains and the net will soon move more efficiently across the seabed,” Jaap tells NH Nieuws.
Van der Vis has applied for a subsidy from the Ministry of Fisheries for the development and testing of the folding shoe. The trial period at the beginning of this year proved that the new system works.
“We catch more fish in a shorter time. I think that more fishermen will transfer in the future, but yes, it will cost a lot of money. I hope that there will be a future for the fishing industry. We have enough follow-up and are not giving up on it yet.”