Optimizing size selectivity and catch patterns for hake (Merluccius merluccius) and blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) by combining square mesh panel and codend designs

Elsa Cuende*, Manu Sistiaga, Bent Herrmann, Luis Arregi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Gear modifications in fisheries are usually implemented to obtain catch patterns that meet management objectives. In the Basque bottom trawl fishery, gear regulations include the use of a square mesh panel (SMP) placed at the top panel of the extension piece of the trawl to supplement diamond mesh codend selectivity. However, the catch patterns obtained with this combination have raised concern among scientists and authorities. This study combines new data on different SMP and codend designs with existing data from the literature to produce new results that are applied to predict the size selectivity and catch patterns of different gear combinations for a variety of fishing scenarios. A systematic approach based on the concept of treatment trees was outlined and applied to depict the effect of individual and combined gear design changes on size selectivity and catch patterns for hake (Merluccius merluccius) and blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou). This approach led to identification of the gear combination with the most appropriate exploitation pattern for these two species and improved the readability and interpretation of selectivity results. The results demonstrated that changes both in SMP and, especially, codend designs have a significant effect on hake and blue whiting size selectivity and catch patterns. Therefore, we believe that further research should prioritize codend size selectivity, and additional selection devices may be added once codend designs with good selective properties are achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0262602
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume17
Issue number1
Number of pages27
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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