By-catch in a 40 mm PE Demersal Trawl Codend


Abstract: Demersal trawling in Turkish waters yields a considerable amount of by-catch and discard. Data presented in this study were collected during a demersal trawl codend selectivity trial carried out on board the RV Egesüf (27 m, 500 HP) between August 9 and September 4, 2002, in İzmir Bay. In total, 52 species of fish and invertebrate from 40 mm nominal mesh size commercially used PE codend and 24 mm cover were identified, separately weighed, and classified as commercial and non-commercial. In addition, for red mullet (Mullus barbatus), hake (Merluccius merluccius), common pandora (Pagellus erythrinus), axillary sea bream (Pagellus acarne), annular sea bream (Diplodus annularis), and picarel (Spicare smaris), length measurements were taken to the nearest half centimeter, and percentages of by-catch, in terms of numbers of individuals, were calculated using Minimum Landing Size (MLS) or, if this was not defined, Length at First Maturity (LFM). Levels of by-catch for these species were also calculated in terms of weight, using length-weight relationships reported in the literature. The results showed that, on average, 63% (93 kg) of codend catch was composed of commercial species, while the rest, 37% (56 kg), was unmarketable species. Moreover, although they are commercial species, 5% of red mullet, 92% of hake, 32% of common pandora, and 33% of axillary sea bream were below MLS in terms of weight. In conclusion, it is stressed that the Aegean Sea demersal trawl fishery has a multi-species nature, its by-catch level is rather high, and therefore there is an urgent need for introducing more selective fishing practices.

Keywords: The Aegean Sea, İzmir Bay, trawl, discard, by-catch

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