Ropeless Lobster Raft

Many at risk marine animals such as whales, pinnipeds, sea turtles and basking sharks become entangled in the current line/buoy used in fishing gear, these entanglements cause severe injury and often death of the animal.

Whether by ocean storms, incorrect line to depth ratios, strong currents or other factors, every day trap/pots are lost to the sea and typically not recovered. Ghost gear, the term used for fishing gear that is lost to the sea, continues to capture fish with no benefit to fishermen and causing negative interaction to the ocean.

This loss effects the profitability of the fishing communities and is a major source of marine debris.  Countless marine animals are injured and killed from interactions with the traditional bottom set line/buoy gear, when marine mammals swim through them they become entangled, this ‘Bycatch’ (the capturing or entanglement of a species that was not being targeted for fishing) is a major environmental and economical problem that can be remedied with Line-Less bottom set fishing technology.  Line-Less bottom set fishing technology has the ability to lessening the financial burden on fisheries and reducing with a potential of ending marine mammal injuries and death from the traditional bottom set line/buoy fishing gear.

The design of our line less gear is essentially the same as what lobster fisherman have always used. We have simply taken the countless feet of lines and buoys and replaced them with an inflatable lift bag technology. This technology is already utilized everyday in salvage operations. Buoyant force is a reliable and efficient way to recover items from the oceans depths. The gear is brought to the surface using a timer control or acoustic trigger. Once at the surface, the blinking LED light on the bag and highly reflective SOLAS tape, allow for visual location. A radar reflector, GPS, and radio tracker are all built into the inflation module to assist in tracking the location of the gear.

See it in Action

Our animation to the right will show you how SMELTS Ropeless raft systems work. As you will see, because there is no line to SMELTS technology, whales can freely swim without the risk of entanglement and fishermen can continue their work.