About Us



David Brett
Managing Director
David Brett

David Brett founded Pelago in 1996. He has been a computer systems engineer for the last 17 years and in his spare time he enjoys fishing, diving, sailing and generally anything to do with the sea.

The Project that made Pelago what it is today, 11 years on

My Name is David Brett, I started Pelago UK purely by chance back in 1996. Being a Diving enthusiast and ex merchant navy engineer I had always been interested in the sea from an early age.  As chance would have it I meet a chap who worked for the Southampton Institute of Oceanography, during a brief conversation I had with hm I happened to mention a project I had been working on for several years, this project was a remote controlled underwater fish trap which could be raised to the surface by the touch of a button.

In 1989 I got married on an island in the Indian ocean, a beautiful island called the Seychelles, I was very much into diving at this stage in my life and spent some time with the hotel diving instructor, over a few beers he was telling me about the plight of the local fishermen, and how they were having there livelihoods ripped from beneath there feet, a lot of the island was devoted to the fishing industry, large fish were common in 89 and frequently caught in the fishermen's traps, catches were a common occurrence, these fish were shipped mainly to south Africa, providing the local economy a good source of income.

Many of the locals were using the old tried and tested fishing methods, fish traps and lobster pots, these were baited and released into the sea connected to long lengths of rope and a marker flag, the problem with this method of fishing, they are visible to anyone wanting to steal there contents, and thatís exactly what was happening during the twilight hours.  Small gangs of criminals would locate these flags and hoist the fish and lobster pots to the surface allowing them to steal the fish. They would then release the pots back into the sea! Empty.

All lobster pots and fish traps are traditionally lowered into the water using long ropes connected to the surface with a large floating flag, this was to enable the fisherman to find and retrieve there pots the following day and remove the fish for market. Stealing these fish from the pots was big business as grouper fish the size of dustbin lids were commonly caught, and would command high prices.

After careful thought we came up with what we though was a great idea to stop this from happening in the future, little did I know this was going to be a project which took  5 years to complete. We actually came up with the  idea using the knowledge we had gained from our many diving experiences. How to solve this major problem, I.E. how can you hide these fish traps and lobster pots from the people whose only intention is to locate and steal there contents.

The idea was  simple, but putting it into practice was another issue entirely,After some thought on the matter we decided the only way was to sink these traps and raise them automatically without the use or ropes, flags or other items that would be visible from the surface.

We used the diving life jacket principle, by opening a valve on a divers life jacket, this would inflate the life jacket filling it with compressed air and making it buoyant, raising the diver to the surface. If we could some how utilize this technique on the fish traps the problem would be solved, but how do you energize a small compressed air cylinder 50 meters down from the surface, for that matter how do you even locate your fish trap.

The first part was relativity simple sink the trap, which would be baited and weighted to help it sink to the bottom and stop tidal drift. Once the trap was released into the ocean, use the man overboard on your GPS system, this would give the longitude and latitude for each trap deployed.

Now the tricky part! We needed to build a sealed hollow tube around the top of each fish trap, make it watertight and find a way to fill with air and release the water inside the tubing to make it float.

We came up with the idea of using a waterproof solenoid, battery operated, this would be energised from a sophisticated electronics module opening the small compressed air bottle (ABLJ) an idea in principle to the way ballast tanks are blown on a submarine and fill the chambers with air, gradually raising the fish trap to the surface.

For this to work we had to find a way to transmit a pulse width encrypted signal through the water to the unit, I wont bore you here, but we used the same frequency that depth sounders use 200khz for shallow waters of less than 200 meters, it took a long time to sort the electronics, as we were getting harmonics and many other signals being transmitted through the water from many craft machinery and animals, we eventually cracked it and got it all to work, sadly this unit is still sitting on our shelf and was never commercialized for use, but thatís how Pelago was born

Since then we have gone on to develop many bespoke data logging systems and data acquisitions systems ranging from oceanographic to Industrial intelligent data acquisition systems.

 

© Copyright Pelago 2003-2004. All rights reserved.

The Pelago Team

Managing Director
---David Brett