Selective and low impact gear for fishing live Nephrops (39042)

Project Details


The Danish nephrops fishery is important with an annual value of the landings of approximately 300m DDK. The quota is high as many nephrops inhabit the inner Danish waters. However, cod is a frequent by-catch which is problematic due to low cod quotas, and resultantly, nephros quota a rarely fully exploited. Furthermore, nephrops are traditionally fished with bottom trawl which exert high impact on the seabed.

The first aim of the project is to solve the cod by-catch issues by using trawling speed as a selective mechanism, which will take advantage of the superior swimming capabilities of cod as compared to nephrops. Lowering the trawling speed will enable cod to escape the trawl while still ensuring nephrops catch.

The second aim is to design and implement a new type of trawl doors that do not touch the seabed and highly reduce impact of the sweeps. Besides, materials used for the new trawl will be produced in much lighter and stronger materials than the traditional trawls. Altogether this reduces the drag in the water and fuel consumption considerably. Trawling at a lower speed lessens the mechanical damage to the nephrops and this enhances their chances of survival. The project will take this one step further by establishing gentle handling routines on board the ships, in addition to appropriate conditions for keeping live animals. Physiological tests will define threshold levels in relation to temperature, light and moist, and characterise the most favourable conditions for further survival. Besides optimising conditions on board the ships this knowledge will be used in relation to temporary storage and to ensure optimal conditions during transport of live nephrops to southern Europe.

The final aim of the project is thus to establish an export chain of live nephros to markets in southern Europe. This can provide the fishermen up to three times the price as compared to when landing nephrops on ice, and the price that the Danish export companies’ gain will likewise increase.

Within the project we successfully developed and tested pelagic doors for use in the nephrops fishery, showing that it is indeed possible to implement these in this fishery. Using reduced speed as a way to allow escape of round fish from the trawl (i.e reduce catch of these) did however not work as anticipated, and cannot be recommended for future practice.

We tested the effects on survival of nephrops of sprinkling with fresh seawater on-board after trawling, light- and air exposure and various temperatures. Of these, air exposure and air temperature (the higher the worse) had the greatest effect on survival and in determining the period it took for nephrops to recover from post trawling and handling stress.

Furthermore, a ‘one-tough’ packing system, including optimal conditions for the animals when transported, was successfully developed, tested and implemented, resulting in up to 95% survival of nephrops transported by truck to southern Europe.

Finally, a manual with guidelines for optimal practice for fishery and export of live nephrops was made.

The project was coordinated by AquaMind and CATch-Fish and funded by Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries through the Green Development and Demonstration Program (GUDP).

Research area: Fish Biology
Research area: Aquaculture
Research area: Fisheries Technology
Research area: Fisheries Management
Effective start/end date01/01/201331/03/2015


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