Marine Scotland Science (MSS) in association with other UK organisations, initiated the use of instrumentation to measure the engineering performance of fishing gear in the 1950s. Since then, a comprehensive set of instrumentation has been developed to measure both gear performance and the associated environmental parameters which influence gear efficiency.
MSS has pioneered direct underwater observation techniques, using both divers and remotely controlled towed vehicles, to observe fishing gears in action and study the behaviour of fish reacting to the gear.
Scale models of test gears are studied in flume tanks such as that operated by Seafish Technology. An example of how fishing gear technologists use this information to design and develop new gears can be found in the Marine Laboratory Four-Panel Trawl (08/1983) publication.