NEAFC request to ICES to define the fisheries that use collection bags in the NEAFC Regulatory Area (ICES subareas 1 and 2) and to assess their impact on species caught and bycaught
reportposted on 2022-01-07, 00:00 authored by ICESICES
Shrimp trawl fisheries in the NEAFC Regulatory area are obliged to use sorting grids; regulations on the use of collecting bags vary by country, however, with some prohibiting their use and others allowing it. ICES advises that the use of collecting bags in these fisheries in the NEAFC Regulatory Area (RA) began in around 2010; there are currently seven vessels reporting the use of collecting bags, with Atlantic cod and Greenland halibut being the main bycatch fish species. The discard ratios of the commonly-caught species Atlantic cod, Greenland halibut, and American plaice (long rough dab) are generally less than 5% of the total catch. Available data did not allow for definitive conclusionsto be made regarding the catch of juvenile fish in collecting bag fisheries compared to the catch with other gears in the same area. Theoretical analyses, assuming fishing with a codend with diamond-mesh size of 35 mm, a Nordmøre grid with bar spacing 22 mm and collecting bag with diamond-mesh size of 135 mm, estimated the percentage of fish in collecting bags that would be considered below minimum landing size (MLS) to be 1.1% for Atlantic cod and 12.1% for Greenland halibut. The proportion of undersized fish that could be retained, however, is expected to vary depending on the size composition of the species in the area of the fishery. The fishery using collecting bags appears to occur primarily on the north western boundary of the Loophole area of the NEAFC Regulatory Area (RA) 3 (ICES Subdivision 27.1.a). There was a clear seasonal trend in the landings of some of the species caught in the Loophole in the collecting bag fishery. Atlantic cod had a strong increasing trend of landings per unit effort from Q1 to Q4. For northern shrimp the opposite trend was found, with a decreasing pattern in landings per unit effort through the year. No trend was detected for Greenland halibut. Comparison of reported landings in the collecting bag fishery relative to all other fisheries in subareas 1 and 2 for Atlantic cod, Greenland halibut, haddock, and redfish indicate that the catches of these species in the collecting bag fisheries represent a small proportion of total catches.
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