Using acoustically visible gillnets to reduce bycatch of a small cetacean: first pilot trials in a commercial fishery

Isabella Maria Friederike Kratzer*, Mollie Elizabeth Brooks, Sabri Bilgin, Süleyman Özdemir, Lotte Kindt-Larsen, Finn Larsen, Daniel Stepputtis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Bycatch of protected species, particularly small cetaceans, in gillnets is a worldwide concern. One hypothesis for this is that echolocating cetaceans entangle because they do not perceive conventional gillnets as impenetrable barriers, owing to the gillnet’s faint echo. A gillnet modified for improved acoustical visibility was tested in a first pilot trial in a commercial gillnet fishery targeting turbot (Scophthalmus maeoticus) on the Turkish Black Sea coast. This study is the first demonstration of the viability of using a gillnet equipped with small acrylic glass spheres to reduce bycatch of harbor porpoises in a commercial fishery and provides the basis for full-scale sea trials of the gear in commercial fisheries through a power analysis. In these pilot experiments, the focus lied on the handling of the gear and identification of requirements for a full-scale trial, but results include promising bycatch data for an endangered echolocating marine mammal (Phocoena phocoena) and no reduction in catch efficiency of a bottom-dwelling, vulnerable species (Raja clavata).
Original languageEnglish
Article number106088
JournalFisheries Research
Volume243
Number of pages12
ISSN0165-7836
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Bycatch
  • Gillnet modification
  • Phocoena phocoena
  • Turbot fishery
  • Raja clavata

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