Hundreds of thousands of animals, including marine mammals, sharks and birds, die as bycatch in fishing nets every year. According to the World Wildlife Fund, one dolphin or porpoise dies every two minutes from being entangled in fishing gear.
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Engineering student Alejandro Plasencia wants to put an end to that. He developed the Remora system, which includes a biodegradable net, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, an RFID reader and a smartphone app.
Combined, this technology could help fishermen find and repair damaged nets, instead of abandoning them to become “ghost nets.”
The yellow radio frequency tags can be attached to a Remora net or to any other net for that matter.
“We were inspired by symbiotic relationships in nature, like the remora fish that attaches to sharks’ skin and keeps it clean by eating parasites, faeces and leftovers,” he told Dezeen.
If the net goes missing, the fisherman can track the gear using the RFID reader and a smartphone app, which helps pinpoint the location. The fisherman can retrieve the net to repair it or contact a government agency, such as Healthy Seas, to who will recover it.
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The threads in the Remora nets contain an additive called d2w, which breaks down in sea water.
Plasencia’s design made the shortlist for this year’s James Dyson Foundation Award and was given the national award for Spain.