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Effect of lifting the sweeps on bottom trawling catch efficiency: A study based on the Northeast arctic cod (Gadus morhua) trawl fishery

Abstract

tFuel consumption and environmental concerns have led bottom trawlers fishing for cod (Gadus morhua) inthe Barents Sea to use semi-pelagic doors. However, this change may affect fish herding and consequentlythe catch efficiency of the gear. In this study we compared the catch efficiency of two different setupswhere the sweep length with bottom contact was different. This setup also enabled us to estimate theherding efficiency of the sweeps on the seabed. The data for this study were collected using the alternatehaul method and analyzed using a new method for unpaired data. We estimated that the setup withthe lifted sweeps captured on average 33% fewer cod than the setup that kept the sweeps at the seabed.The loss of catch for cod was length independent and significant for a length span between 41 and104 cm. When sweeps were lifted above the seabed, herding was negatively impacted and fish werelost; in contrast, when on the seabed, the sweeps were able to herd (on average) 45% of the cod into thecatch zone of the gear. Lifting the trawl doors from the seabed is touted as a positive development forthis fishery. However, our results show that lifting the doors and consequently the sweeps can lead tosubstantial catch losses. Finally, the study highlights the importance of carefully evaluating the positiveand negative potential consequences of introducing changes in a fishing gear.

Category

Academic article

Client

  • Research Council of Norway (RCN) / 216423

Language

English

Author(s)

Affiliation

  • SINTEF Ocean / Fisheries and New Biomarine Industry
  • Universitetet i Tromsø - Norges arktiske universitet

Year

2015

Published in

Fisheries Research

ISSN

0165-7836

Publisher

Elsevier

Volume

167

Page(s)

164 - 173

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