Design and test of a topless shrimp trawl to reduce pelagic fish bycatch in the Gulf of Maine pink shrimp fishery


He, P., Goethel, D. and Smith, T.



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Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Science

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Experiments were conducted at sea to determine the ability of a "topless" shrimp trawl to reduce bycatch of Atlantic herring.  The "topless" effect was created by removing the square and the top part of the section after the square on the trawl.  At-sea trials resulted in a reduction of Atlantic herring bycatch by an average of 86.6% and produced an increase of 13.5% in pink shrimp catch.  The bycatch of several species of flounder did increase with this new design, albeit less than 3%, which could have been a factor of the wider wingend spread and slight difference in the footgear between the experimental and traditional gear.  There were no differences in catches for other bycatch species (blueback herring and silver hake) between the two gears. In addition, the "topless" trawl was easier to sort and clean and therefore required less labor.