Modelling the effect of mesh size and opening angle on size selection and capture pattern in a snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) pot fishery

Bent Herrmann*, Eduardo Grimaldo, Jure Brčić, Kristine Cerbule

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Size selection in commercial snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) pot fisheries is important for reducing on-board sorting and unintended mortality of undersized individuals. In this paper, we tested whether snow crab of various sizes geometrically could pass through diamond meshes of different sizes and opening angles, to estimate a model for predicting the effect of mesh size and mesh opening angle on snow crab size selectivity. The model was able to explain the size selection results from earlier sea trials using commercial snow crab pots. Size selection was strongly dependent on mesh opening angle, making it less well-defined for the conical pots often used in snow crab fisheries where mesh opening angle varies. We predicted the optimal mesh size for the Norwegian snow crab fishery is 140 mm with a 65° opening angle, resulting in high capture efficiency for target size snow crab (larger than 100 mm carapace width) and low sorting effort, with approximately 10% of the catch consisting of undersized snow crab. Our model can potentially be used for other snow crab fisheries.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105495
JournalOcean & Coastal Management
Volume201
Number of pages9
ISSN0964-5691
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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