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The Development of Bycatch Reduction Technology in the Southeastern United States Shrimp Fishery

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Shrimp trawl bycatch is a significant source of fishery induced mortality for managed species including red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus Poey), Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus MitcheU), and weakfish (Cynoscion regalis Baloch, Schneider) in the southeastern United States. These species have been overfished and are under both state and federal management plans which include regulations mandating reduction of shrimp trawl bycatch mortality. In 1990 the U.S. Congress passed amendments to the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1854) which called for a research program that included the design and evaluation of approaches for reducing shrimp trawl bycatch mortality. A strategic planning initiative addressing finfish bycatch in the Gulf of Mexico and southeastern Atlantic shrimp fisheries was developed by the Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation through funding and guidance provided by the National Marine Fisheries Service. A cooperative research plan was developed in 1992 which included the identification, development, and evaluation of gear options for reducing bycatch in the Gulf of Mexico and southeastern Atlantic shrimp fisheries. Between 1990 and 1996 one hundred and forty five bycatch reduction conceptual gear designs contributed by fishers, net shops, gear technicians, and biologists were evaluated. Sixteen of these designs were tested on cooperative commercial shrimp vessels by observers under the southeast regional cooperative bycatch program. Analyses of data from commercial vessel testing indicates that two bycatch reduction designs have potential to significantly reduce shrimp trawl bycatch for weakfish and Spanish mackerel in the southeastern Atlantic and two designs have the potential to significantly reduce red snapper bycatch in the Gulf of Mexico. The fisheye and the extended funnel bycatch reduction devices have been mandated for use in the southeastern Atlantic shrimp fishery and the fisheye and Jones/Davis bycatch reduction devices have been mandated for use in the Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawl fishery.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1999-01-01

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  • 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.
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