Effects of season, target species and codend design on the survival of undersized plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) discarded in the bottom otter trawl mixed fisheries in Skagerrak

Esther Savina*, Thomas Noack, Junita Diana Karlsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Unaccounted fishing mortality is recognized as an important determinant in the management of bycatch, and discard survival studies have been conducted in commercial and recreational fisheries around the world. A range of environmental, operational and biological factors affect survival of discarded fish and should be considered when presenting survival estimates. The present study compared discard survival of plaice in the bottom otter trawl mixed fisheries in Skagerrak between (a) seasons, (b) target species and (c) codend designs. In the latter, a horizontally divided codend designed to reduce interactions between spiny Norway lobsters (Nephrops norvegicus) and fish during the fishing process was investigated for its capacity to reduce catch damages and improve fish survival. (a) In winter, survival was significantly higher (75%, Confidence Interval (CI): 61–78%) than in summer (44%, CI: 34–61%). (b) When targeting plaice, survival was significantly higher (73%, CI: 63–83%) than when targeting Nephrops (40%, CI: 14–59%) in winter. (c) Using the divided codend, an improvement in discard survival of undersized plaice was possible when targeting Nephrops, but without a significant difference from the 90 mm diamond mesh standard codend (37%, CI: 14–54%) when fish were caught in the 60 mm square mesh lower compartment (61%, CI: 48–73%). In the 120 mm square mesh upper compartment, survival was significantly higher (94% with CI: 81–100%), but few undersized individuals were caught. When targeting plaice, survival rates did not differ between codends.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105311
JournalFisheries Research
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Captivity experiment
  • Demersal fishery
  • Discard survival analysis
  • Landing obligation
  • Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus)
  • Horizontally divided codend

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