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How an illuminated headline affects catches and species separation in a Celtic Sea mixed demersal trawl fishery.

Birch, S. F., Gregory, S. D., Maxwell, D. L., Desender, M. and Catchpole, T. L., 2023. How an illuminated headline affects catches and species separation in a Celtic Sea mixed demersal trawl fishery. Fisheries Research, 268, 106832.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.fishres.2023.106832


Installing artificial lights on fishing gear is increasingly being explored to alter the behaviour of fish during the capture process and modify selectivity. We investigated the effect of introducing artificial light on a commercial trawler operating in the English southwest mixed demersal fishery. Total catch and species vertical separation were compared and analysed in two identical separator trawls towed simultaneously. One trawl was equipped with blue LEDs along its headline, the other trawl served as a control to allow for pairwise catch comparison. Fishing trials were conducted at night and during the day. In the presence of lights, catches-at-length of haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) were lower during the night and marginally higher during the day. Catches of grey gurnard (Eutrigla gurnardus), megrim (Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis) and whiting (Merlangius merlangus) were unaffected by lights. In terms of vertical separation, in the presence of lights, more haddock were retained in the lower codend during the day and night. Lights also increased the proportion of catches in the lower codend for grey gurnard, whiting and Northern squid (Loligo forbesii), but only during the day. This study shows there are species-specific reactions to artificial light during the trawl capture process and these reactions can be different between day and night. When reviewed with other studies, some common observations are identified, indicating that lights can change the behaviour of some species which normally rise inside the trawl during the capture process, such as haddock. The use of artificial lights offers an alternative method to modify trawl selectivity, by utilising species-specific reactions to light, and the ability to change the position and characteristics of the light, offers many avenues to investigate.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Artificial light; Fish behaviour; Catch comparison; Demersal otter trawl
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:39050
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:06 Oct 2023 10:47
Last Modified:05 Jun 2024 10:47


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