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Discard analysis and damage to non-target species in the "rapido" trawl fishery
Pranovi, F.; Raicevich, S.; Franceschini, G.; Torricelli, P.; Guivanardi, O. (2001). Discard analysis and damage to non-target species in the "rapido" trawl fishery. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 139(5): 863-875.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Pranovi, F.
  • Raicevich, S.
  • Franceschini, G.
  • Torricelli, P.
  • Guivanardi, O.

    This paper describes the catch composition in the rapido trawl fishery and the direct effects on non-target species. All data were collected on commercial fishing vessels so as to reflect commercial rapido-trawling practice. The effects on non-target species were measured using two different damage scales (three- and seven-level scales) depending on the morphology of the taxa. Damage assessment was performed taking into account the whole fishing process by collecting individuals that passed through the cod-end, individuals that were retained in the cod-end and dropped onto the deck and individuals that were collected at the end of the sorting operation just before their return to the sea. Due to differences in the habitat and spatial distribution of target species, discard/commercial ratio was very different among the three different target species fisheries: 1:6 in the queen scallop (Aequipecten opercularis) fishery, 2:1 in the flatfish (Solea spp., Platichthys flesus, Psetta maximus and Scophthalmus rhombus) fishery and 9:1 in the scallop (Pecten jacobaeus) fishery. Damage sustained by non-target species was species-specific and related to the morphology of different organisms. The sorting operation produced similar levels of injury to those of the gear itself: all discarded animals showed higher levels of damage after the sorting than before. Damage to animals that had passed through the cod-end followed the same pattern, and these data could give an estimate of the "unobserved mortality". Our observations indicated a higher impact on non-target species caused by the queen scallop fishery than that caused by the flatfish fishery. This could be due to the total amount of hard-shelled species (in the queen scallop fishery, A. opercularis accounted for 87% of the total catch biomass) in any given haul, since shells macerated the catch during towing. Discarded animals from the queen scallop fishery showed higher levels of damage than those collected in the flatfish fishery. The rapido trawl fishery seemed to exert a strong selective pressure on the macrobenthic community, being able to modify the epibenthic fauna structure which, in heavily exploited fishing grounds, was dominated by bivalves, gastropods, crabs, starfish and brittlestars.

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