Selective haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) trawling: Avoiding cod (Gadus morhua) bycatch

Ludvig Ahm Krag, René Holst, Niels Madsen, K. Hansen, Rikke Frandsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


The critical condition of the North Sea cod stocks has resulted in restrictions on not only cod, but also haddock and other species that are caught together with cod. Thus full exploitation of the haddock stock is unachievable unless cod can be excluded from the haddock catch. We designed a selective trawl based on the behavioral differences between haddock and cod as they enter a trawl, i.e., cod stay close to the seabed whereas haddock rise above it. The trawl's fishing line is raised similar to 60 cm above the seabed to allow cod to escape beneath the trawl while haddock are retained. To collect the escapees, three sampling bags were attached beneath the raised fishing line. The selective haddock trawl reduced the total catch of cod by 55% during the day and 82% at night, and 99% of the marketable haddock was caught during the day and 89% at night. Cod escape rates were highly length dependent: smaller cod escaped the trawl in greater numbers than did larger individuals. Whiting, saithe. lemon sole, and plaice were included in the analysis. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFisheries Research
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)20-26
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Trawl
  • Species separation
  • Melanogrammus aeglefinus
  • Species selectivity
  • Gadus morhua
  • Fish behavior
  • Haddock
  • Cod


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