Socio-Technical Approaches are Needed for Innovation in Fisheries

Alyne Delaney, David G. Reid, Christopher Zimmermann, Marloes Kraan, Nathalie A. Steins, Michel J. Kaiser*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We reflect on the innovation process that led to the development of the pulse trawl that was successfully trialed at a commercial scale, but eventually ended with the European Parliament passing legislation to ban its use. The ban was imposed despite published and emerging evidence that suggested that the environmental performance and catch efficiency of the pulse trawl was superior to the conventional beam trawl design. We used a stakeholder questionnaire to understand which factors undermined wider acceptance of the pulse trawl. The main factors where a lack of involvement of certain key stakeholders earlier in the process that would have ensured better co-development of innovation and a shared vision of the environmental or governance questions that needed to be addressed. Although the stakeholder process itself was seen to be positive, it was implemented too late in the innovation process, as was the implementation of an independent peer review process. We conclude by identifying a pathway for future fishing gear innovation processes that integrate the lessons learnt from the pulse trawl innovation process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-179
Number of pages19
JournalReviews in Fisheries Science and Aquaculture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2023


  • environmental impacts
  • governance
  • innovation
  • stakeholders
  • Trawling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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