Effect of Codend Circumference on the Size Selection of Square-Mesh Codends in Trawl Fisheries
It is well established that increasing mesh number in the circumference of a diamond-mesh trawl codend can reduce size selection for round fish, whereas selection for flat fish species is unaffected. This effect has also been documented in Mediterranean trawl fisheries. In contrast, no information is available with regard to the effect of increasing mesh number in the circumference of square-mesh codends on the size selection of round fish and flat fish species. A field study was devised to bridge this gap and formulate proposals aimed at improving trawl fishery management. Size selection data were collected for a round fish species, red mullet (Mullus barbatus), and two flat fish species, Mediterranean scaldfish (Arnoglossus laterna) and solenette (Buglossidium luteum). Fishing trials were conducted in the Adriatic Sea (Central Mediterranean) using three square-mesh codends that differed only in mesh number around the circumference. Results demonstrated that increasing the number of meshes from 107 to 213 reduced the 50% retention length (L50) for red mullet by 2.5 cm but did not affect size selection for the two flat fish species. In some fisheries, regulatory provisions regarding the number of meshes in the circumference should therefore be carefully considered both for diamond- and square-mesh codends.
Link to publishers version: 10.1371/journal.pone.0160354