Sustainable fishing net wins
James Dyson Award

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SafetyNet Sustainable fishing net by Dan Watson wins James Dyson Award

News: a trawler fishing net that filters out young and endangered fish from the catch has won this year's James Dyson Award for students working on innovative engineering solutions.

Developed by Royal College of Art graduate Dan Watson, the SafetyNet uses a combination of strategically placed holes and lighting to separate fish of different ages and species.

“This tangible technology approaches a serious environmental problem, we should celebrate it," said industrial designer James Dyson, founder of the award. "SafetyNet shows how young graduates like Dan can tackle global issues ignored by established industries in new and inventive ways.”

SafetyNet Sustainable fishing net by Dan Watson wins James Dyson Award

Since graduating, Watson has started a company, SafetyNet Technologies, to try and commercialise his technology. “The escape rings are designed to be low maintenance," he says. "The rings are illuminated, acting like an emergency exit sign for the fish. Water flowing through the wide open meshes guides the smaller fish to freedom while retaining the larger ones.” Read more about the SafetyNet sustainable trawling net in our earlier story.

Watson receives £10,000 in prize money, which he'll use to further develop prototypes and finalise government testing for the system. His university department, Innovation Design Engineering, also receives £10,000.

Two runners up each receive £2000: Jason Hill and Liz Tsai of the Art Center College of Design and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US were awarded for the Beth Project, a self-adjusting prosthetic limb, while James McNab of Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand was awarded for his Revival vest for divers, which automatically inflates if it detects signs of drowning and brings the wearer to the surface. See all the runners up on the James Dyson Award website.

The James Dyson Award is an international student competition organised by the James Dyson Foundation with a simple brief: “Design something that solves a problem.” Last year's winner was a system that extracts moisture from air like a desert-dwelling beetle by Edward Linacre from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne - read more in our earlier story on the 2011 James Dyson Award winner.

Dyson himself became a household name with his bag-less vacuum cleaner that famously boasts no loss of suction and he's since gone on to create blade-less fans. See more designs by James Dyson on Dezeen or listen to our podcast interview with James Dyson.

  • Birgitte JH

    This is very interesting. Have you guys done some real tests showing that the little fish actually do swim towards the light circles and go through them?