EC Request on Baltic cod Selectivity
An important parameter for the exploitation of fish stocks is the selectivity of fishing gears and its effect on fish population. During the past years, two basic approaches to improve the selectivity of trawls in Baltic cod trawl fisheries were developed and successfully tested. Both are cod end modifications. First, the Bacoma window is a panel of square meshed net, which is included in the cod end. The second approach is the use of net material for the entire cod end, which is turned by 90° compared to the typical configuration (as also used for Bacoma cod ends). Therefore, this configuration is called T90 (turned 90°). Numerous studies have been conducted to investigate the selectivity of trawls in the Baltic Sea. The European Commission presented a report on selectivity for trawl fisheries for cod in the Baltic to Council in January 2009. The main conclusion of the report is that there are no data to support big differences in selectivity between the two gears Bacoma and T90. Several member states have requested the Commission to continue assessing new ways to increase selectivity in the Baltic cod fisheries, to reduce current levels of discards, such as an increase in mesh sizes. The Commission believes there is scope for increased selectivity in the fishery and wishes to consider approaches to achieve this goal including alternative ways other than simple mesh size increase.
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