Development and testing of a release panel for sharks and non-target finfish in purse seine gear

Itano, D., Muir, J., Hutchinson, M. and Leroy, B.
Journal/Publisher Name
Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission
Volume (Issue #)
Page #s
Contact information
Pelagic Fisheries Research Program
University of Hawaii

An experimental release panel was installed in purse seine nets to determine their ability to release both silky sharks and non-target finfish.  The release panels (5.5 m wide, extending down from the corkline for 11 m) were installed in a portion of the net that forms a "pocket" toward the end of net retrieval.  Dive surveys previously reported that silky sharks tend to segregate and collect in this section of the net.  The release panel was tested during seven purse seine sets, but only two silky sharks (out of 105) exited through this panel. In net observations indicated that sharks and other non-target finfish did not appear to recognize the opening as an escape route out of the net. Despite this initial failure of the release panel, the authors feel refinement of the panel and additional testing is still warranted.