FLEXSELECT: counter-herding device to reduce bycatch in crustacean trawl fisheries

Valentina Melli*, Junita Diana Karlsen, Jordan P. Feekings, Bent Herrmann, Ludvig Ahm Krag

*Corresponding author for this work

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FLEXSELECT is a simple counter-herding device which aims at reducing the bycatch of fish by scaring them away from the trawl path without affecting the catches of the target species. FLEXSELECT was tested in the Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) directed trawl fishery, as this includes bycatch of both roundfish and flatfish. Length-based data were collected for Nephrops, four roundfish species (cod, haddock, whiting and hake) and two flatfish species (plaice and lemon sole) and length-based catch comparisons performed. No significant effect on the target species, Nephrops, was detected, whereas a reduction of 39% (CI: 29-46 %) was obtained for the overall number of fish. Catches of all the six fish species examined were significantly reduced by FLEXSELECT, with the efficiency varying considerably among species and over length classes. No significant diel differences were found for either roundfish or flatfish species. FLEXSELECT prevents bycatch species from interacting with the trawl, thus most likely enhancing their survival and fitness. Moreover, its fast attachment system makes FLEXSELECT a flexible tool, adaptable to different fisheries and catch goals.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)850-860
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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