Gill net and long-line catch comparisons in a hake fishery: the case of southern Portugal
Keywords:European hake, Merluccius merluccius, long-line, gill net, fishing yield, by-catch, discards, southern Portugal
During 1998, a study of the European hake (Merluccius merluccius) static gear fishery was undertaken in southern Portugal. This study aimed to compare long-line and gill net catches within the same area in terms of catch composition, fishing yield, by-catch and discards, and specifically for hake, catch size frequency distribution and quality of the fished product. At least 35 species of fish and invertebrates were caught, with hake dominating the catches in terms of both weight and number. The by-catch represented 23% and 15% of the catch in weight for long-lines and gill nets respectively. No illegal sized hake (under 27 cm total length) were caught in either gear during the study period. Discards of non-commercial species were similar for both gears and considered to be negligible (< 3% by weight). Hake discards were significantly different between gears (7% for long-lines and 42% for gill nets, by weight), due to fish deterioration related to soaking time. Higher daily yields were obtained for long-lines (258.37 kg / 9,000 hooks) compared with those for gill nets (127.12 kg / 10 km net). These findings will help to improve the management and conservation of this valuable hake fishery.
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