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Interactions between fishing strategies of Nephrops trawlers in the Bay of Biscay and Norway lobster diel activity patterns

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Norway lobster, Nephrops norvegicus (L.), in the Bay of Biscay exhibited diel activity patterns with more individuals outside their burrows at dawn and dusk, increasing catchability at these times. Data from an on board observer programme on Nephrops trawlers between 2002 and 2005 were used to assess variability in catchability in commercial catches. Catch numbers per haul varied spatially and between months, but no signal for diel variations was found. Fishing strategies developed by the Nephrops trawlers had several components. On a seasonal level, they started around sunrise. On a haul level, haul duration decreased from haul to haul, with the longest hauls taking place at the time of the highest catchability. By-catch of hake, Merluccius merluccius (L.), increased more than proportionally with haul duration.
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Keywords: catchability; diel activity patterns; fishing strategy; time of day

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-02-01

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