Windowpane Flounder Avoidance Adaptation (Large Mesh Belly Panel) in the Scup Fishery
CCE Winter Flounder Avoidance Gear Adaptation (Panel)
CCE Butterfish Bycatch Reduction Device
CCE drop chain proof of concept (POC)
UMass Squid Trawl Project
URI Butterfish & Scup Bycatch Reduction Project
UMass Large Mesh in Trawl Belly Study to Reduce Flounder & Cod
URI - Drop Chain Project 12 inch

Results

In summary, statistical analysis indicates that there was a significant difference in catch of both windowpane flounder and scup in the control net compared to the experimental net with the large mesh belly panel when analyzed in terms of catch weights and in number of individual fish.The overall reduction in windowpane flounder catch weight due to the large mesh belly panel treatment was 48.04% compared to the control net. The overall reduction in scup catch weight due to the large mesh belly panel treatment was 26.14% compared to the control net. When the analysis was conducted on number of fish, the overall reduction in number of windowpane flounder due to the large mesh belly panel treatment was 46.7% compared to the control net. The overall reduction in number of scup due to the large mesh belly panel treatment was 47.6% compared to the control net. Since the goal of the project was to utilize the large mesh belly panel to reduce windowpane flounder catch while retaining the catch of the target species (scup), the gear did not seem to be accomplishing both goals simultaneously. Initially, the fact that scup was significantly reduced was discouraging. However, once length frequency distribution data was analyzed, it was determined that the reduction in scup was attributed to the reduction of small, sublegal sized fish which would be discarded anyhow. The significant reduction in scup caused by avoiding these unmarketable fish may actually be an improvement over currently utilized gear. This reduction will benefit the industry by decreasing time spent processing and sorting the catch on deck as well as benefit the scup resource by decreasing the amount of scup discards. Coupled with the effectiveness of the large mesh belly panel at reducing windowpane flounder catch, the gear seems promising as a bycatch avoidance strategy benefitting both fish and fishermen.