We have been supporting leading marine conservation engineering company, Fishtek Marine, for the past five years in its mission to reduce the impacts of fishing on wildlife.

Based in Totnes, Devon, this conservation company was set up by brothers Pete and Ben Kibel in 2016 to create products that offer viable alternatives to destructive fishing practices, with the ultimate aim of reducing bycatch.

The innovations that are making waves

Overexploitation of fish and other resources, destructive fishing, unregulated development, pollution and climate change are altering the oceans in numerous ways.

Pete and Ben felt passionate about taking action against this, and used their background as a fisheries biologist and engineer to create Fishtek Marine, which is now a global leader in smart fishing technologies with six successfully developed products that reduce bycatch.

Recent innovations include SharkGuard, a device attached to fishing hooks that uses an electric field to cause sharks to flee from the baited hooks, putting them out of danger.

ScallopLight is an underwater LED light to attract scallops into fishing pots. This works as an alternative to the destructive and carbon-intensive dredging techniques that can cause damage to the seabed.

Rules and regulations

There have also been a number of developments in regulation and legislation which are key to Fishtek’s growth.

The EU introduced new rules last year which require large companies and listed companies to publish regular reports on the environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks they face, and how their activities impact people and the environment, including marine species.

In the USA, the Marine Mammal Protection Act 1972 enforces the use of pingers on gillnets to protect harbour porpoise and beaked whales and the USA is now extending this legislation to insist that all countries exporting fish to the USA must demonstrate that they are reducing interactions with cetaceans or risk a ban on exporting fish to the US market, worth billions of US dollars.

This new legislation is a gamechanger and will fuel Fishtek's growth because corporations who don't reduce bycatch in their sea food supply chains will suffer investment and financial penalties.

Financing sustainable fishing practices

Fishtek’s products are sold to fishing companies and distributors in more than 40 countries – having a positive impact for a wide variety of marine wildlife around the world.

In 2018, our crowdfunding customers raised £900,000 for Fishtek Marine which enabled the development of new products and expansion of its production facilities.

“We know people are passionate about protecting the natural environment and, as a bank that prioritises positive environmental impact, we’re very supportive of Fishtek Marine’s ambitions,” said Whitni Thomas, head of corporate finance at Triodos Bank UK.