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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 126:31-38 (1995)  -  doi:10.3354/meps126031

Survival of by-catch from a beam trawl

Kaiser MJ, Spencer BE

The passage of a beam trawl across the seabed leads to the direct mortality, or indirect mortality through subsequent predation, of some benthic species. In addition, animals retained in, or those that pass through, the cod end may also die as a result of the fishing process. The extent of this additional mortality needs to be quantified to calculate total mortality of non-target species associated with this type of fishery. Hence, we investigated the survival of animals caught by a 4 m beam trawl, in order to identify those species most sensitive to capture. Starfishes, hermit crabs and molluscs were highly resistent to the effects of capture (>60% survived in all cases). Fishes (except dogfish), sea urchins and swimming crabs suffered higher mortality after capture. Generally, the majority of the animals that passed through the meshes of the cod end survived. Experimental investigation of the cause of damage to certain species concluded that the chain matrix fitted to the gear was largely responsible for the injuries sustained. The types of injuries and their extent were species-specific, and were related to the fragility and physical characteristics of each species. Our experiments revealed that while some species are highly sensitive to capture, others are capable of surviving the effects of capture.

Survival . By-catch . Beam trawl

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