Effective herding of flatfish by cables with minimal seafloor contact

Rose, Craig S. and Gauvin, John R. and Hammond, Carwyn F. (2010) Effective herding of flatfish by cables with minimal seafloor contact. Fishery Bulletin, 108(2), pp. 136-144.

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Abstract

Otter trawls are very effective at capturing flatfish, but they can affect the seaf loor ecosystems where they are used. Alaska f latf ish trawlers have very long cables (called sweeps) between doors and net to herd fish into the path of the trawl. These sweeps, which ride on and can disturb the seaf loor, account for most of the area affected by these trawls and hence a large proportion of the potential for damage to seaf loor organisms. We examined modifications to otter trawls, such that disk clusters were installed at 9-m intervals to raise trawl sweeps small distances above the seafloor, greatly reducing the area of direct seafloor contact. A critical consideration was whether flatfish would still be herded effectively by these sweeps. We compared conventional and modified sweeps using a twin trawl system and analyzed the volume and composition of the resulting catches. We tested sweeps raised 5, 7.5, and 10 cm and observed no significant losses of flatfish catch until sweeps were raised 10 cm, and those losses were relatively small (5–10%). No size composition changes were detected in the flatfish catches. Alaska pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) were captured at higher rates with two versions of the modified sweeps. Sonar observations of the sweeps in operation and the seaf loor after passage confirmed that the area of direct seafloor contact was greatly reduced by the modified sweep

Item Type: Article
Title: Effective herding of flatfish by cables with minimal seafloor contact
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Rose, Craig S.
Gauvin, John R.
Hammond, Carwyn F.
Refereed: Yes
Journal or Publication Title: Fishery Bulletin
Volume: 108
Number: 2
Page Range: pp. 136-144
Date: 2010
ISSN: 0090-0656
Issuing Agency: United States National Marine Fisheries Service
Subjects: Biology
Ecology
Fisheries
Item ID: 8752
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2012 18:33
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2012 18:33
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/8752

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