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Because of their number, trawlers account for the major share of fuel consumption in the fishing activity in France. The aim of the project put forward here, is to validate a trawl design tool which would allow for a reduction in the vessel's drag and, consequently in the resulting consumption. This design tool which we propose to validate experimentally in this project, is already being studied under the Hydropêche project which was funded at the first DPMA call for proposals in 2008. It is proposed that  this project be conducted in parallel with the Hydropêche project, applied for and accepted in 2008. Indeed, the very first digital results from the Hydropêche project are sufficiently interesting in terms of the improvement in energy efficiency for an experimental validation of these results at sea to be appropriate as of present. This design tool permits the automatic optimisation of trawls. In particular it calculates several thousand trawls within an acceptable time (a few hours) so that each trawl calculated brings a slight improvement in terms of fuel consumption. This project focuses on the validation of this tool via a comparison of the tool's simulations with measurements taken at sea; different aspects will have to be tackled, experimental and digital, as well as the validation by the professionals of new types of trawl as being more energy- efficient trawls without a significant loss in catch. The validation will focus on a simple typical trawl for the Nord Pas-de-Calais Picardie region.

To sum up, 4 phases in the rolling-out of the project:

Phase 1: Definition of the reference fishing vessel (trawl - boards - sensors) integrating the existing knowledge of professionals and the scientists (integration of different studies carried out on the subject and experiments in the Nord Pas-de-Calais Picardie and in Brittany).

Phase 2: Validation of the reference fishing vessel by the  professionals in comparison with the classical fishing vessel (that currently being used by professionals). Optimisation of the adjustments. Measurement on the reference trawl while fishing, of the trawl warp tension and of the arm, of the horizontal and vertical openings, of the distance between the boards, of towing speed in relation to the water and the bottom, as well as the sensors. Reading the reference trawl plan, especially the cutting of net sections, the assembly of the head rope and bolt rope, the lengths of the trawl warp and the arms.  Setting up of a classical trawl and reference trawl Database.

Phase 3: Definition of shape of new optimised trawls with the software design tool (optimisation of  EFFICHALUT trawl-cutting ). Optimisation of trawl section cutting with the design tool. Optimised trawl making according to the new net section cutting defined during optimisation; Links to the HYDROPECHE project underway (hydrodynamics) and the SELECMER programme (selectivity);

Phase 4: Validation of the shape of the new optimised trawls (EFFICHALUT trawls) with the professionals. Measurement at sea on the trawl, otherwise known as optimised, of the same parameters as on the initial trawl. Comparison of measurements at sea with the simulations resulting from the design tool for validation. Setting up of an optimised trawl Database Base. Report on the contributions to energy saving.
IFREMER, partner in the project, emphasises that the competent authorities will have to take into account the fact that, if this study, as with all studies on energy saving, could lead to the risk of an increase in fishing activity then  measures to limit the access to resources will have to be included.

This project, labellised by the AQUIMER Pole of Competitiveness on 23 April 2009, is co-labellised by the Pôle Mer Bretagne.


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