Simple pot modification improves catch efficiency and species composition in a tropical estuary mud crab (Scylla serrata) fishery

V.R. Madhu*, Sreelakshmi B. Anand, Kristine Cerbule, Bent Herrmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Pots are widely used fishing gear type for targeting different crustacean and fish species. Pot entrance size and design are among the most important technical parameters that influence the catch efficiency of certain species. An optimal pot entrance design should allow an efficient entry for the target species while preventing subsequent escape. The tropical estuary pot fishery targeting mud crab (Scylla serrata) in Vembanad Lake, India, employs rectangular pots with rectangular-shaped entrances. Low catch rates for target species and high bycatch rates are observed in this fishery. This study was carried out to investigate if a simple pot modification by extending the entrance of the traditional pots, can improve the catch efficiency of mud crab. Further, we estimated and compared the catch composition in this small-scale fishery using the traditional and modified entrance pots. The results showed that the catch efficiency for all sizes of mud crab is on average more than six times higher with the modified entrance pots compared to the traditional pots (622% (CI: 344–1867%)). However, significant quantities of juvenile crabs are caught in modified pots. Further, the bycatch ratio was significantly reduced for modified compared to the standard entrance pots in this fishery. These results show that such pot modifications have potential to significantly improve the catches in mud crab pot fisheries without increase in capture of bycatch species. However, additional mechanisms for excluding undersized crabs from pot catches should be investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108369
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Pot entrance
  • Pot fisheries
  • Mud crab
  • Catch efficiency
  • Catch composition


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