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Spain: Innovative technology and management measures improve ecological trawling efficiency

Scientists from the Balearic Oceanographic Centre of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), in collaboration with fishermen from the Balearic Islands and Cataluña, have evaluated different measures to reduce the direct and indirect impact of trawling in ecosystems. The results of their studies, published recently show that the new technological improvements and innovative management measures analyzed make it possible to reduce the impact of trawling gear on the seabed, improve its selectivity and reduce fuel consumption. As a measure of innovative management, a change was made in the work routine in the trawling fishery that is carried out in the Gulf of León, which consisted of moving from a daily activity, between 12 and 16 hours during the five working days of the week to a continuous activity for 48 hours per week. The technological improvements, which were carried out in trawlers from Mallorca and Menorca, consisted of the use of smaller hydrodynamic doors or doors that do not contact the seabed, shorter warps and wider-mesh nets in its previous part, to increase its filtration capacity. In addition, the cod end mesh shape was also changed, from a diamond one of 40 millimetres to a square one of 40 millimeter, the mesh in force since 2010. Changing the cod end mesh shape and use of hydrodynamic doors did not result in any change in the composition of land catches or a reduction in commercial yields. The change in the work routine allows to decrease sailing and even the effective fishing time. This leads to a lower fuel consumption, which is also achieved with the boards that do not contact the seabed and the lighter gear having mesh that is larger in size, which also results in a reduction in operating costs and, therefore, contributes to maintain the yields.

 Publish at : FTD Issue 99

Source: Journal of Marine Policy

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