Quantifying the escape mortality of trawl caught Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba)

Bjørn A Krafft, Ludvig Ahm Krag, Arill Engås, Sigve Nordrum, Inge Bruheim, Bent Herrmann

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Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) is an abundant fishery resource, the harvest levels of which are expected to increase. However, many of the length classes of krill can escape through commonly used commercial trawl mesh sizes. A vital component of the overall management of a fishery is to estimate the total fishing mortality and quantify the mortality rate of individuals that escape from fishing gear. The methods for determining fishing mortality in krill are still poorly developed. We used a covered codend sampling technique followed by onboard observations made in holding tanks to monitor mortality rates of escaped krill. Haul duration, hydrological conditions, maximum fishing depth and catch composition all had no significant effect on mortality of krill escaping 16 mm mesh size nets, nor was any further mortality associated with the holding tank conditions. A non- parametric Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to model the relationship between mortality rates of escapees and time. There was a weak tendency, though not significant, for smaller individuals to suffer higher mortality than larger individuals. The mortality of krill escaping the trawl nets in our study was 4.4 ± 4.4%, suggesting that krill are fairly tolerant of the capture-and-escape process in trawls.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0162311
JournalP L o S One
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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