Key Elements of the System The main building blocks of the system are: o a pair of variable thrust vector devices (VTVD's) to provide the forces necessary to position the trawl; o sensors and transducers to determine what the system is doing and also where the trawl is; o a control system to process and display the information from the sensors to accept input from the fishing  master and to output signals to the devices such that the desired trawl position is reached; o a communications link between the trawler and the devices; In addition to basic system above, interfaces to existing and/or additional trawl-gear borne fish detection equipment as well as to weather, navigational, winch control and engine management systems and also a fishery data-base,  could be used to automate and/or increase the catching efficiency of the fishing operation. Two other essential components are the trawler and the trawl net. The system can be designed and tailored to suit individual needs and to interface with existing equipment. Typical  options are: Basic System - depth and lateral position control of the trawl gear manually controlled by means of a joy-stick by  the fishing master. Auto Depth - above, plus software to maintain a preset depth (e.g. for midwater trawling) or height above the sea  bottom (bottom hugging). Pre-set Course - above, plus software to follow a pre-determined trawl path and/or seabed data. If interfaced to the navigation system, engine management system and winch control, then no further operator intervention would be  necessary. If not, then instructions would be displayed on the screen. Auto-Intercept - if a shoal of fish were to be located outside of the trawl path, the system would determine the  corrections necessary to intercept the shoal. Auto-Fish - this would be a “hands-off” option where all the parameters including the trawl path would be decided  by the system. This would be a “full house” system with a large database of fishery and fishing ground information  and full interfacing to the trawler electronics including the autopilot and engine management system. It would also  require a well defined fishing strategy program.
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