Improving Selectivity in an Australian Penaeid Stow-net Fishery
Abstract:Two experiments were conducted in an Australian penaeid stow-net fishery to: (i) validate the use of a fine-meshed cover for determining the selectivity of codends, and (ii) use this cover to quantify and compare the selectivity of a conventional 30-mm diamond-mesh codend and two new square-mesh designs made from 20- and 30-mm mesh, hung on the bar. In the first experiment the codend cover had minimal impact on the fishing performance of the stow net. The 30-mm square-mesh codend tested during the second experiment significantly improved the selectivity of the stow net, measured as an increase in school prawn (Metapenaeus macleayi Haswell, 1879) carapace length at 50% probability of retention (L50), and a reduction in the unwanted bycatches of juvenile eastern king prawns (Penaeus plebejus Hess, 1865) and small, non-commercial fish. However, a concomitant increase in selection range (SR) indicated that unacceptable quantities of target-sized school prawns escaped. In contrast, the 20-mm square- and 30-mm diamond-mesh codends were virtually non-selective for the sizes of school prawns encountering the gear. Compared to the 30-mm diamond-mesh codend, the 20-mm square-mesh codend did, however, reduce the quantities of eastern king prawns and non-penaeid bycatch retained. The results are attributed to the geometries of the codends tested and provide directions for future research into modifications to improve the selectivity of stow nets.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 2005
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