The Neptune Award 2017 $100,000 USD is given to the solution that advances our understanding of the ocean and that helps minimize our impact on these resources, even while using them for human benefit, resulting in more resilient bodies of water including healthy marine life and coastlines.
The winner of the 2017 Ocean Exchange Neptune Award is Wing Trawling System or WTS (USA-AL), presented by Randy Skinner.
This system can be adapted to existing commercial shrimp boats to reduce unwanted finfish by-catch by 60%+, while allowing a 20% increase in shrimp capture, and has shown 35% reduction in fuel consumption. The WTS looks like an airplane wing that flies just over the sea floor and holds the net open, eliminating the heavy sea floor contact of the trawl doors. The system was created and field-tested with six design generations by WTS founder, Randy Skinner, who has 49 years experience as a shrimper and many years experience as a mechanical designer.