Reducing discards in trammel net fisheries with simple modifications based on a guarding net and artificial light: contributing to marine biodiversity conservation
Keywords:experimental fishing, discard reduction, trammel net fisheries, Mediterranean Sea, cuttlefish
Experimental fishing trials with standard (control) and modified trammel nets were conducted to assess the possible reduction of discards. The standard trammel net was the commercial net used in the area (80 mm stretched mesh inner panel) targeting Sepia officinalis. This configuration produced 19% discards in weight. The modifications researched were of two kinds: a “guarding net” consisting of a 2.5-mesh-high (200 mm stretched mesh) net between the footrope and the trammel net and artificial lights of two colours (white or green) mounted on the floating ropes. Catches were identified, measured and categorized (commercial, discards and reason for discarding), and the different configurations were tested for statistical differences. Our results show that trammel net deployments with guarding net produce 32% higher catches of commercial species and as much as 95% higher catches of the target cuttlefish. Artificial lights produced a low but significant increase in total catches of commercial species of 13%, with no differences due to light colour. The amount of discards in deployments with guarding net was 6%, i.e. ca. 1/4 of the amount produced by the standard configuration. The effect of lights on discard reduction was not significant.
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