Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Sala A., Lucchetti A., Piccinetti C., Ferretti M. Size selection by diamond- and square-mesh codends in multi-species Mediterranean demersal trawl fisheries. In: Fisheries Research, vol. 93 (1-2) pp. 8 - 21. Elsevier Science Bv, 2008.
Mediterranean demersal trawl fisheries traditionally operate using small diamond-shape meshes in the codend, which tend to retain almost all animals. We investigated the effect of mesh configuration on the size selectivity of nine species (the scaldfish Arnoglossus laterna, the broad-tail shortfin squid Illex coindettii, the European hake Merluccius merluccius, the red mullet Mullus barbatus, the Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus, the common pandora Pagellus erythrinus, the deepwater rose shrimp Parapenaeus longirostris, the Mediterranean horse mackerel Trachurus mediterraneus and the poor-cod Trisopterus minutus capelanus) commonly captured in the Mediterranean demersal trawls. Two codends having meshes with the same opening (ca. 38 mm) but different mesh configuration (DM38: diamond-mesh and SM38: square-mesh configuration) were fished daily and alternately on the same trawl. They demonstrated a Substantial improvement in selectivity with square-mesh. Selectivity was Measured using the covered codend technique, the cover being supported by circular hoops. The results were analysed taking into account the between-haul variation in selectivity. Two other important external variables Were identified: the trawling depth and the codend catch, which for some species influenced between-haul variation, but there was no evidence of a coherent effect on selectivity parameters. The selectivity of 40 mm diamond-mesh codend has been reported to be rather poor because a large proportion of the codend catch is immature and smaller than the Minimum landing size (MLS) or first maturity size. With the exception of the flatfish (A. laterna), the effect of a change of mesh configuration from diamond- to square-mesh on size selectivity positively affected the retention length at 50% (L-50). However, square-meshes were found to be unsuitable for flat and/or deep-bodied fish as these escape more readily from diamond-meshes. The Council Regulation (EC) No. 1967/2006, concerning management measures for the Sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the Mediterranean, establishes the MLS of marine organisms. However, the increase in L-50 with square-mesh would not avoid some ofthe existing contradictions in allowing the use of codend mesh which leads to lower L-50 than the MLS. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1016/j.fishres.2008.02.003
Subject codend selectivity
demersal trawl
Mediterranean sea

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