National Fisherman

The St. John’s, Newfoundland-based eSonar and Zhoushan Sound Ocean IT Co. of Zhoushan, China, signed a distribution agreement on Oct. 10 for eSonar’s sonar-based trawl monitoring systems to be marketed in eastern China through Zhoushan Sound’s distribution network. The two companies also agreed to collaborate on the development of new sonar products.

In late November, Jim Hall, eSonar’s managing director, and Don Vokey, director of marketing and sales, flew to Zhoushan to conduct training with Zhoushan Sound’s technical staff and sales people.

“At first, we were hesitant to enter the Chinese market because we were protective of our [intellectual property],” Vokey recalled, but with the assistance of the provincial government’s Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, he and Hall exhibited the company’s products at an inbound trade mission in St. John’s and then at Oceanology International in China.

“We were inundated with meetings,” Vokey said. They met Dr. Jun Han, who had taught at Tokyo University and was doing similar work in the development of sonar products. And after conducting due diligence through the Canadian trade commissioner’s office in Shanghai, they decided to partner with his company.

Two weeks after inking this agreement, on Oct. 24, Nautel, a marine electronics distributor headquartered in Lisbon, signed a distribution agreement with eSonar to sell the company’s products, TrawlVue and SeineVue, in Portugal. “Since then, they have installed both systems, on a trawler and a purse seiner,” reported Vokey. “Both are working extremely well.” He added that the sensors on these new systems are fully programmable in the field and have multifunction capabilities.

In addition to China and Portugal, eSonar has distributors in Ireland, Spain, the United States, Canada, the Faroe Islands, the UK and Belgium. — Andrew Safer

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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