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BSafe – A New Generation of Fish-Safe Nets

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BSafe - the answer to the spread of 'some' fish diseases could be on the way BSafe - the answer to the spread of 'some' fish diseases could be on the way

The introduction of new technology that could dramatically cut the transfer of bacterial fish diseases is announced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BSafe - short for 'bacteria safe - began life in the mind of avid angler Derek Willan, who believes that all anglers should be doing their bit to safeguard fish health in the UK.


Derek WillanDerek explained:

"Virus outbreaks were getting all the press but research revealed that the bigger killers were a relatively small group of bacteria which the Environment Agency confirmed were present in the majority of fish mortalities they attended in 2013.

It has been proven under laboratory conditions that disease can be transferred on nets to fish, and I feel as anglers we have a duty of care to look into any avenue that can help ensure healthier fish stocks. We need to be conservationists as well as anglers."


Derek was convinced that the answer lay in producing nets with anti-bacterial properties, and he set about finding out if it could be done.


The result was a marriage between the UK’s leading supplier of masterbatch technology in Silvergate Plastics, and Biomaster, the Queen’s-Award-winning market leader in permanent antimicrobial additives. Their brief was to develop an in-built solution at molecular level, which enhances the performance of filaments and plastics, from which nets are ultimately made.


Derek was able to bring their expertise together to begin work on a unique bacterial-killing material. This led to the birth of Aquatech Techologies – the owners of the BSafe brand – and the breakthrough came when it became clear that by utilising complex chemistry, it was possible to create an active and ever-lasting bacterial killing layer to the surface of polymeric material.


“This was really exciting because it looked as if it would be feasible to engineer the technology into the monofilament used to make the yarn, from which the nets used in fishing and other aquaculture equipment are created,” explained Derek. “What's more, the technology continually works at the material surface for the life of the product, and is effective when wet - exactly the conditions which are thought to make the transfer of disease possible."


The theory sounded great... but it had to be tested. Step forward government executive agency CEFAS, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science. CEFAS had seen first-hand the problems caused in fisheries by bacterial diseases, and it bought into the idea straight away, working closely with the BSafe team to test samples against the five key bacterial pathogens.


Working on the project for CEFAS was Jason Weeks, who is now Professor of Environmental Risk Analysis at the University of Cranfield:

"The results were stunning and very exciting for everyone involved; a more than 99% kill rate of the five key bacterial pathogens within 24 hours... and proof that the BSafe technology was at work when wet or dry."


BSafe nets may help to stop bacterial disease transferLeading UK fisheries consultant Dr Bruno Broughton commented:

“Fish are the vital life-blood for the owners and managers of fisheries, and maintaining good fish health is an essential requirement of successful fisheries management. This welcome move will lead to better, fish-safe nets and other products which will raise the bar for fish health standards. Initial inquiries have stimulated an extremely positive response from fishery owners, and it merits widespread adoption.”  


The introduction has also been greeted by the Angling Trust, with chairman Mark Lloyd saying:

“The Angling Trust takes fish health and welfare very seriously and any product that can help protect fish from bacterial infection is very welcome. If the manufacturer’s claims are correct, then these nets could make a big contribution to stopping the spread of disease and helping to protect the sport that we all love.”


Aquatech Technologies director Andrew Jackson-Brown added:

“From our initial idea we have always intended to make the exciting benefits of BSafe available to all manufacturers of nets, slings, mats and potentially any products that come into contact with infected fish.

We see launch of BSafe as a huge step forward in reducing the spread of harmful bacterial diseases and hope that all anglers and manufacturers alike join with us to help preserve and promote healthier fish stocks.”


A spokesman for UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) commented:

“It’s great to see the best in British industry pulling together like this to create an exciting new technology with so much potential in international markets.”


The BSafe technology is available now but it should be noted that the claimed prevention of bacterial transfer will not prevent the spread of deadly viral fish diseases such as SCMS, SVC and KHV, the latter of which is currently causing carp kills on a number of UK waters.







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Comments (13 posted):

binka on 15/07/2014 17:01:08
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It sounds like clever stuff and definitely a step in the right direction as far as fish welfare goes, I wonder if this will be the biggest turning point in nets since knotted mesh? On the one hand I can see commie owners insisting on it, and for very good reasons too in relation to their own interests but on the other hand will they turn people away for not having a BSafe net and take the hit on the lost revenue? Maybe the lost revenue will balance out against fewer fish mortalities? Perhaps a sensible way forward would be to make it compulsory for all manufacturers to use this or a similar type of material and phase it in within the natural replacement cycle of existing nets so as not to put too much of an additional cost burden on the angler? Either way I reckon someone's gonna do very nicely out of it :) I'm not going on a cost issue but out of interest does anyone know what, if any additional cost this will put on net prices?
stu_the_blank on 15/07/2014 19:03:55
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I'd like to know a bit more about how this kills the bacteria and how toxic it is. Does it kill 99% of all bacteria? A large proportion of bacteria is not only beneficial but essential to the environment. What else does it kill? I'm also a bit sceptical that it can be everlasting but am open to convincing. Although I use a landing net, I haven't owned a keepnet for over 25yrs, the reason I stopped using them was the skin/scale damage caused by them. I would assume that it is the keepnet that is the main culprit, if so, unless you are fishing a match, don't use one. Binka, of course somebody will make a few Shekels out of it if successful, it's only profit or war that drives innovation! If it really makes a difference, they should. Stu
Alan Tyler on 15/07/2014 20:36:16
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I'd like to know a bit more about how this kills the bacteria and how toxic it is. Does it kill 99% of all bacteria? A large proportion of bacteria is not only beneficial but essential to the environment. What else does it kill? Stu Absolutely!
sam vimes on 15/07/2014 23:57:33
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Fair play to someone trying something new. However, the folks that are likely to suffer, and therefore those most likely to insist on their use, are the commercial fisheries. There is a much simpler solution for them, buy a load of their own nets and insist that people use them and leave their own at home. That way, Joe Average will not get caught out when visiting a new venue. He'll not feel like this is just another way of extracting cash from him. Fisheries will get a genuine level of bio-security. If fishery owners really care enough to insist on people using this new net material, they should have little problem in caring enough to provide fishery owned nets. Unfortunately, I can see the former happening, but not the latter.
The bad one on 16/07/2014 00:43:29
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In principle it could be a good idea, accepting Stu’s cautionary note, but what I do find strange are the two claims made in the article. “Kills 99% of all bacteria,” “and in laboratory tests.” Bactericide, which is used against bacteria, is as far as I know of little use against a virus. Bacteria are single celled organisms and can survive on their own. Viruses are not celled and can’t survive on their own. The Trust being correct to point it out at the end of their statement - “The BSafe technology is available now but it should be noted that the claimed prevention of bacterial transfer will not prevent the spread of deadly viral fish diseases such as SCMS, SVC and KHV, the latter of which is currently causing carp kills on a number of UK waters.” I’d like to see the full peer reviewed paper that acompany’s the claim that it kills 99% in lab tests. Sounds a bit like the Ads on telly… Kills 99% of all germs. Then the follow up papers of tests in the real world. And as Stu points out the environmental impact studies that it’s safe. The other way of course that's recommended by the EA and CEFAS is to dry all nets in strong sunlight for a few hours
stu_the_blank on 16/07/2014 05:29:49
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The other way of course that's recommended by the EA and CEFAS is to dry all nets in strong sunlight for a few hours Simples!:) and a lot cheaper. No chance of the law of unintended consequences coming in to play either. Stu
Peter Jacobs on 16/07/2014 05:58:50
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"The BSafe technology is available now but it should be noted that the claimed prevention of bacterial transfer will not prevent the spread of deadly viral fish diseases such as SCMS, SVC and KHV, the latter of which is currently causing carp kills on a number of UK waters.” As it says, KHV, SCMS and SCV are both viral infections so anti-bacterial nets, (if proven to actually work) will have no effect whatsoever . . . . . . . . Personally I'll stick to the tried and tested method of air drying my nets and will certainly not be buying a whole new set.
markg on 16/07/2014 08:54:39
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This a as much a question as anything else as I am ignorant of the facts. But, cannot bacteria and viruses survive drying out. They just close down, retain enough moisture to stay alive and then when they find themselves in a benign moist environment again come alive. They survive thousands of years in deep ice and even space I believe. Would just drying out a landing net be enough?
sagalout on 16/07/2014 09:48:23
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They survive thousands of years in deep ice and even space I believe. I just get the missus to give them that look.
barbelboi on 16/07/2014 09:55:35
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This a as much a question as anything else as I am ignorant of the facts. But, cannot bacteria and viruses survive drying out. They just close down, retain enough moisture to stay alive and then when they find themselves in a benign moist environment again come alive. They survive thousands of years in deep ice and even space I believe. Would just drying out a landing net be enough? The Environment Agency state - “There are two main ways of disinfecting fishing tackle. The first is to thoroughly dry equipment after fishing, preferably in direct sunlight. If this is not practical, then a chemical disinfectant can be used”. “ If net dips are used on site to disinfect nets, make sure the chemicals are fresh and that anglers use them correctly. exposure time of at least 15 minutes is required. After 15 minutes the equipment can be rinsed in a separate tank of clean water.”
The bad one on 16/07/2014 14:37:14
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This a as much a question as anything else as I am ignorant of the facts. But, cannot bacteria and viruses survive drying out. They just close down, retain enough moisture to stay alive and then when they find themselves in a benign moist environment again come alive. They survive thousands of years in deep ice and even space I believe. Would just drying out a landing net be enough? Mark in simple terms yes “some” bacteria can survive in the conditions you’ve described because they are cellular. A living organism if you like. Viruses can’t they need a host cell to be parasitic on and multiply or they die quite rapidly. Most fish diseases are viral not bacterial, so I really can’t see the point of producing a bacterial net to attempt to combat viral diseases using a built in bactericide. As to sunlight killing both bacteria and viruses that are harmful to fish – Viruses as I’ve said die rapidly if they don’t find a host. So they are dead and cause no further problems when net are dried out. Bacteria can live on, on wet nets for sometime, but if dried in strong sunlight, the UV rays and the desiccation process kills them. That is established scientific fact by CEFAS tested over many years and many experiments. What many don’t know is that the tap water and bottled water we drink is sanitised by UV light before it reaches us. As its one of the best known ways to man of killing harmful bacteria. The other way is to add chlorine to it.
markg on 16/07/2014 15:06:47
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I just get the missus to give them that look. That's a relief, I thought it was just mine; she can lay waste to a whole planet with "THAT" look. Still, at least they cant organize themselves into a cohesive group, small mercies. ---------- Post added at 15:06 ---------- Previous post was at 15:00 ---------- Mark in simple terms yes “some” bacteria can survive in the conditions you’ve described because they are cellular. A living organism if you like. Viruses can’t they need a host cell to be parasitic on and multiply or they die quite rapidly. Most fish diseases are viral not bacterial, so I really can’t see the point of producing a bacterial net to attempt to combat viral diseases using a built in bactericide. As to sunlight killing both bacteria and viruses that are harmful to fish – Viruses as I’ve said die rapidly if they don’t find a host. So they are dead and cause no further problems when net are dried out. Bacteria can live on, on wet nets for sometime, but if dried in strong sunlight, the UV rays and the desiccation process kills them. That is established scientific fact by CEFAS tested over many years and many experiments. What many don’t know is that the tap water and bottled water we drink is sanitised by UV light before it reaches us. As its one of the best known ways to man of killing harmful bacteria. The other way is to add chlorine to it. Cheers Badone, I'm alright though, I have a bucket and just put a little bleach in it with some water and soak the net for ten minutes and then rinse it out under the tap. Not too much bleach though as I read this can rot the material. I assume this is OK, always smells right afterwards. I don't know if it kills viruses though?
The bad one on 16/07/2014 15:36:30
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I don't know if it kills viruses though? Doesn't matter as by drying it out after bleaching would anyway! I hate the smell of bleach btw and that bloody wife keeps them in business I'm sure!


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