NEW BEDFORD, MA — Visitors to the 2013 Working Waterfront Festival will have a unique opportunity to see an underwater simulation of how fishing gear works. The festival takes place in New Bedford, America’s largest commercial fishing port, on Saturday and Sunday, September 28 and 29.
More than simply a celebration, the Working Waterfront Festival is a unique opportunity for the public get a first hand look at the culture and traditions of the commercial fishing industry and for the working waterfront community to tell its own story. The event presents all that goes into bringing seafood from the ocean to the table in a way that is hands-on, educational and fun.
GEARNET is a Federally-funded, multi-institutional network of fishermen and researchers who work directly with local and regional groundfishermen through their fishing sectors to develop and adopt fishing equipment that improves efficiency and selectivity, reduces environmental impact, and helps secure a sustainable, profitable groundfish resource and industry for future years. GEARNET will be partnering with The Center for Sustainable Aquatic Resources (CSAR) at the Marine Institute at Memorial University, Newfoundland to display a model flume tank at the Festival. The 750 gallon flume tank circulates water through a complex system of propellers, pumps and pipes to mimic the flowing ocean. Local net designer Tor Bendiksen a member of GEARNET’s Technical Committee and a significant partner in GEARNET, has designed model nets for use in the tank and will be available to talk about trawl fishing and answer related questions.
Until recently, the tank was used to help gear designers create nets aimed at catching more fish. Today the tank is used primarily to aid the industry in developing selective, energy efficient and environmentally friendly fishing gear designed to reduce bycatch. Bycatch is captured fish that cannot be sold because they are either too small or the wrong species.