Rebooting the trawl industry using underwater drones

TRAWL 2.0 will use autonomous drones to make trawl fishing more efficient. Yet to be commercially implemented, the solution could reduce fuel consumption, while increasing the quality of the catch.


For more than 50 years, fish trawling has faced challenges including high fuel consumption, seabed damage, bycatch and damage to fish.

Keeping a trawl underwater for long periods of time causes fish to be squeezed and haemorrhage. Shorter intervals of trawling, meanwhile, render fishing less efficient and more carbon-intensive.

To combat these effects, a re-think of the trawling industry is needed.

Autonomous, underwater drones

TRAWL 2.0 is a new and patented solution – currently under development – for using autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for trawling.

The AUVs collect batches of fish from the cod-end of the trawl, without interrupting the ongoing trawling. The AUVs then latch onto an underwater docking station next to the trawler, pumping the catch on board into tanks filled with seawater.

This creates an even flow of fish from the trawl to the trawler, making it possible to collect five to ten metric tons of catch per hour, instead of 15-30 metric tons every third or fourth hour.

TRAWL 2.0 ensures that the fish caught first are the first fish out of the trawl, thereby avoiding injuries to fish. Preventing the quality of the catch from being impaired like this could potentially lead to an increase in revenues of five to ten per cent, as well as improved animal welfare.

Concrete benefits

Instead of hauling the trawl several times daily, a trawler using TRAWL 2.0 can opt for a continuous trawling operation over several days. This could reduce the number of days trawling at sea by 50-60 days per year, while maintaining the same yield.

Such an increase in catch efficiency would reduce fuel consumption from trawlers, with a corresponding reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 15 to 20 per cent.

TRAWL 2.0 could also improve the health and safety of fisherman, with hard labour on trawl decks being reduced from six to eight hours per day to one to two hours every second or third day.

Market potential

TRAWL 2.0 will provide technology for stern trawlers longer than 35 metres, with a displacement of 500 gross tonnage. A market survey conducted in December 2017 shows a global fleet of more than 650 such vessels, with 500 of these deemed fit for using TRAWL 2.0. With expected growth in the market, the total market size could surpass USD 2 billion.

TRAWL 2.0 is developed by STØ Technology, a company founded in 2017 by experienced fishermen.

"Humla" on board the trawl deck for maintenance.

"Humla" on board the trawl deck for maintenance.

Jan Børge Vik (IronCAD)

Do you want to contact this company?

Register for free and connect

Create an account


+47 970 04 029

At a glance

  • Autonomous, underwater drones for trawling

  • Collects catch directly from trawl and reduces injuries to fish

  • Cuts fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions


Under development
The solution is a concept, prototype, close to piloting, or the like.

Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals