Initial experiments to assess short-term survival of discarded plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) caught in trammel nets during winter season

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European plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) is a key species in commercial fisheries in the North Sea, Skagerrak, Kattegat, and Baltic Sea. The reformed European Union Common Fisheries Policy includes the possibility of exemptions from the landing obligation for “species for which scientific evidence demonstrates high survival rates”. Discard survival from set-net fisheries is poorly studied. Trials were conducted on two commercial fishing vessels over seven trips from November to February 2017–2018 in the Baltic Sea. The nylon trammel nets had a nominal bar size for the inner/outer wall of 75/350 mm and 85/400 mm. Soaking time was 23–47 h, water depth 7–18 m, and deck temperature was −0.1–6.0 °C. Following commercial practice, the trammel nets were hauled back onto the vessel, after which netting and fish passed through a net hauler onto a steel sorting table where the entire fish catch were manually untangled by the fishers and plaice collected by scientists. We used a storage system for housing the captured fish inside fishing harbours during observations. Catch-damage-index (CDI) and Reflex Action Mortality Predictor (RAMP) scores were used to assess fish condition immediately after capture and at the end of observation periods. All plaice below 40 cm were sampled with a total number of 118 individuals from 13 fleets (several nets joined together). The fish were assessed for short-term survival for 4–10 days with full survival (100%). The majority of fish exhibited no reflex impairments. Minor bruises, fraying, and net marks were frequently observed on captured fish. The overall condition of the fish did not change during observation periods.

TidsskriftFisheries Research
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
The research was funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark (Grant numbers 17–4010-000155 and 33113-I-19–147 ). The authors wish to thank the Society for Sustainable Coastal Fisheries (Foreningen for Skånsomt Kystfiskeri) for their cooperation, and fishers Jacob Pind and Johnny Krog. Experiments were approved by The Animal Experiments Inspectorate (Permit Number: 2017–15-0201–01297) and methods were carried out in accordance with the relevant guidelines and regulations. We highly appreciate useful comments from reviewers.

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© 2022 The Authors

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