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Small-mesh fishing for squid in Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds during the spring seasonal fishery result in high catch and discard of undersized flounder and scup, both important commercial and recreational fishery species. This study was designed to assess the extent of bycatch and discard in the Loligo pealeii squid inshore fishery and to describe and document the behavior patterns of squid and nontarget fish in relation to fishing gear. Bycatch rates vary spatially and temporally but over 30% by weight of total catch are discarded at sea. The main bycatch and discard species comprise flatfish (summer flounder Paralichthys dentatus and winter flounder Pseudopleuronectes americanus), scup (Stenotomus chrysops) and butterfish (Peprilus triacanthus). Videotape recordings and behavioral analysis of squid reactions have shown that squid display classical herding behavior and considerable swimming endurance in the forward part of the net. Loligo are shown to rise when dropping back towards the codend and in some cases to turn and rise on tiring. This behavior may be used to separate squid from the main bycatch species. Separator trawl test-trials have demonstrated that clear separation between squid and bycatch species can be achieved by simple gear modifications.
The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.