Using vertical distribution to separate fish from crustaceans in a mixed species trawl fishery

Junita Diana Karlsen*, Ludvig Ahm Krag, Bent Herrmann, Henrik Skaarup Lund

*Corresponding author for this work

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A major challenge in mixed fisheries is achieving acceptable size selectivity for morphologically different species using the same fishing gear. Separator trawls can have different selective properties in the upper and lower compartments provided successful separation of species. We used a horizontally divided codend with small square meshes (40 mm) and a simple frame to stimulate fish to swim into the upper compartment. The majority of the fish were separated successfully from Nephrops (Nephrops norvegicus), but their preference were uniform. Less than 10% of the Nephrops entered the upper compartment. Length-based analysis revealed three patterns of separation efficiency among nine commercial species: length-dependent separation, and preference for the upper or lower compartments. The separation efficiency should be improved for small roundfish and flatfish. There was little diel effect on the separation efficiency. The preference of fish for a compartment taking the relative height of that compartment into account was established for this and similar previous studies to enable comparison of results. We recommend length-based analysis to account for the fished population when interpreting the results
Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1781-1794
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Horizontally divided codend
  • Mixed fish-crustacean fisheries
  • Length-based separation efficiency
  • 30 vertical distribution
  • Vertical preference


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