Project number: 2005-239
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $26,610.00
Principal Investigator: David J. Sterling
Organisation: DJ Sterling Trawl Gear Services
Project start/end date: 5 Nov 2005 - 10 Jan 2007


Most Australian commercial fishers are faced with a very challenging period ahead. With the prospect of further price rises in petroleum-based fuel, combined with a domestic oil deficit predicted to emerge past 2015, and a global need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Australian fishing industry is seeking ways to improve the energy efficiency of its operations and to find viable alternative energy sources.

Whilst the development and trial of alternative energy technologies is well advanced in the road transport sector, the maritime sector has received less attention, particularly in Australia.

There is a need to bring together alternative energy providers, fishing vessel and gear designers, fishing operators, industry representatives, researchers and funding providers to discuss the potential for alternative energy technologies and energy-efficient design for commercial fishing operations in Australia. Following this it is highly desirable to scope methods of reducing energy usage through, for example, improved gear efficiencies and vessel design including propulsion systems, and to develop an R&D agenda for advancing alternative energy use and energy efficiency in Australia’s fishing fleet.

A beneficial spin-off of the work would be to develop a guide that can inform the industry on existing and new developments in this area, and where the greatest potential for fuel efficiencies lies.


1. Examine the degree to which rising fuel costs have impacted on different fisheries
2. Examine new and existing technologies developed both within and outside of Australia in the field of increased fishing efficiency through reduced energy usage and innovation
3. Examine opportunities for applying innovative solutions and developments which are most likely to produce the best return for the Australian fishing industry
4. Develop a publication that scopes potential innovations, whether they be existing or have the potential for development, that reduce energy usage
5. Provide advice on potential R&amp
D that could assist industry in reducing energy usage.

Related research


SeSAFE – Delivering Industry Safety through Electronic Learning

1. INFORM, via an independent review, the design and application of user-pay funding models in Australian primary industries, the potential for a similar model to be introduced by SeSAFE in the fishing and aquaculture industry, and steps recommended to realise this outcome.
Smart Fishing Consulting