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Effect of pot design on the catch efficiency of snow crabs (Chionoecetes opilio) in the Barents Sea fishery

Effect of pot design on the catch efficiency of snow crabs (Chionoecetes opilio) in the Barents Sea fishery

Category
Journal publication
Abstract
The snow crab (Chioneocetes opilio) fishery in the Barents Sea is carried out by large offshore vessels, as the fishing grounds are located far from shore and the gear must be transported back and forth over long distances. Therefore, fishers use stackable conical pots that allow large numbers of pots to be carried on deck for each trip. One of the drawbacks of using stackable pots is that the entrance is at the vertex of the conical pot, which Fishers claim does not provide the desired fishing efficiency. Thus, the goal of this study was to determine whether a different pot design would improve the catch efficiency of snow crabs. We investigated the efficiency of a new type of pot called the moon pot, which provides continuous increased bait odour intensity as snow crabs make their way towards the entrance of the pot. This alteration was expected to increase catch efficiency compared to that of the conical pots used by the fleet today. However, experimental fishing results showed that the modified pots had significantly lower catch efficiency than the standard conical pots, as only ~66% of the number of crabs caught by the conical pots were caught in the moon pots. The main reason for this reduced catch efficiency likely was the initial steepness of the moon pot, which may have made it difficult for crabs to reach the pot entrance. These results demonstrated that pot design can dramatically affect catch efficiency of snow crabs.
Client
  • Fiskeri- og havbruksnæringens forskningsfinansiering / 17063
  • Norges forskningsråd / 269251
Language
English
Author(s)
Affiliation
  • SINTEF Group Head Office
  • SINTEF Ocean / Sjømatteknologi
Year
2019
Published in
PLOS ONE
ISSN
1932-6203
Publisher
PLOS
Volume
14
Issue
7