The Gear Innovation Pathway is a programme that has been developed by Fisheries Inshore New Zealand (FINZ) through a project with Seafood Innovations Ltd (SIL).
FINZ is an industry non-profit organisation established by fishers to advance their interests in inshore finfish, pelagic and tuna fisheries. Seafood Innovations Ltd is a research partnership owned by Seafood New Zealand Limited and Plant & Food Research.
The programme is intended to facilitate a ‘grass-roots’ approach to gear innovation in inshore fishing in Aotearoa New Zealand. Innovation is wanted to reduce negative impacts, add value to products, and to increase productivity at either a regional or national scale (see section ‘How we fish’).
The programme is intended to facilitate a ‘grass-roots’ approach to gear innovation in inshore fishing in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The project provides support, guidance and funding to innovation at all sizes, scopes and levels of development. This can allow smaller companies and fishers to access funding for their ideas where other funding may be difficult to source. Fishers are not required to self-fund the project as this is fully covered by Seafood Innovations Ltd and Fisheries New Zealand.
The project is not about developing a commercially viable product but aims to disseminate ideas and learnings from projects to the wider industry.
The research themes explored are:
- Vessel and gear efficiencies,
- Benthic impact, and
- Non-fish protected species interactions.
An example of a funding recipient is fishers Adam and Phil Clow, Department of Conservation seabird liaison officer Nigel Hollands and coastal engineer Peter Quilter, who are working together on a design for a hydraulic gear setting arm to reduce seabird bycatch in the bottom longline industry. The design would allow the bait to enter the water much closer to the stern of the vessel and push it two metres under the surface. The aim is to prevent seabirds from having an opportunity to dive onto baited hooks thereby reducing bycatch. The funding allows the design to be developed and installed on a fishing vessel.
References and footnotes
 Note funding of Seafood Innovations Ltd by MBIE ceased in July 2020.