Fit one or more soft, semi-rigid, or rigid grids or frames to trawl nets

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    60%
  • Certainty
    40%
  • Harms
    0%

Study locations

Key messages

  • Two studies examined the effects of fitting one or more soft, semi-rigid, or rigid grids or frames to trawl nets on subtidal benthic invertebrate populations. The studies were in the Gulf of Carpentaria and Spencer Gulf (Australia).

 

COMMUNITY RESPONSE (0 STUDIES)

POPULATION RESPONSE (2 STUDIES)

  • Unwanted catch abundance (1 study): Two replicated, paired, controlled studies in the Gulf of Carpentaria and in Spencer Gulf found that nets fitted with a ‘downward’-oriented grid but not an ‘upward’-oriented grid reduced the weight of small unwanted catch and that both grid orientations caught fewer unwanted large sponges, and that nets fitted with two sizes of grids reduced the number and biomass of unwanted blue swimmer crabs and giant cuttlefish caught, compared to unmodified nets.

OTHER (2 STUDIES)

  • Commercial catch abundance (2 studies): Two replicated, paired, controlled studies in the Gulf of Carpentaria and Spencer Gulf found that nets fitted with a ‘downward’-oriented grid or a small grid reduced the catch of commercially targeted prawns, compared to unmodified nets, but those fitted with an ‘upward’-oriented grid or a large grid caught similar amounts to unmodified nets.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, paired, controlled study in 2001 in areas of seabed in the Gulf of Carpentaria, northern Australia (Brewer et al. 2006) found that the effects of fitting a grid (“turtle excluder device”) to trawl nets, on large sponges and small unwanted catch (invertebrates and fish combined) varied with the device orientation. Nets fitted with a device oriented either ‘downward’ or ‘upward’ caught 82–96% fewer large sponges, compared to unmodified nets, but only the ‘downward’ devices reduced the weight of small unwanted catch (by 8%; data not provided for the ‘upward’ device). Compared to unmodified nets, nets fitted with a ‘downward’ device reduced the catch of commercially targeted prawns by 6%, while those with an ‘upward’ device caught similar amounts. The use of a “turtle excluder device” has been compulsory since 2000 in the Australian prawn fishery (as well as the use of a “bycatch reduction device”). Commercial vessels towed twin Florida Flyer prawn trawl nets from each side of the vessel in August–November 2001. Nets with one of 23 grid designs (rigid or semi-rigid frame with ≤120 mm bar spacing and an opening of ≥700 mm) grouped as either ‘upward’ (9 devices) or ‘downward’ (14 devices) oriented (267 nets examined for small unwanted catch, 392 for sponges) and an unmodified net (339 for sponges, 703 for small unwanted catch) were randomly assigned to either side of the vessel. Total weights of small unwanted catch (<300 mm), commercially targeted prawns, and counts of sponges (>300 mm) were recorded.

    Study and other actions tested
  2. A replicated, paired, controlled study in 2014 in a sandy area in Spencer Gulf, Southern Australia (Kennelly & Broadhurst 2014) found that, when fitted to trawl nets, two grids reduced the number and biomass of unwanted giant cuttlefish Sepia apama and blue swimmer crabs Portunus armatus caught, compared to conventional nets without grids. Compared to conventional nets, nets fitted with a small grid resulted in a 50% decrease in the number and a 60% decrease in the biomass of giant cuttlefish caught, as well as a 40% decrease in the number and a 48% decrease in the biomass of blue swimmer crab caught. Nets fitted with a large grid resulted in 34% decrease in the number and a 37% decrease in the biomass of giant cuttlefish caught, as well as a 34% decrease in the number and a 50% decrease in the biomass of blue swimmer crab caught. There were no differences in cuttlefish abundance and biomass between the grid sizes. Catch of commercially targeted western king prawns Melicertus latisulcatus was reduced by 8% when using a small grid compared to a large grid and the conventional net (which had identical catches). Two grids were tested: a small grid (1.4 m long, 45° angle) and a large grid (1.98 m long, 30° angle) (see paper for full details). For 30 min at night, a trawler towed two identical nets (one on each side) fitted with a 41 mm mesh codend during simultaneous, paired deployments: one net fitted with a grid and one unmodified conventional net (eight deployments using small grids, seven using large grids). For each deployment, the weight and numbers of cuttlefish and crabs were recorded, as well as the weight of other unwanted catch. Weight and size of prawns were also recorded.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Lemasson, A.J., Pettit, L.R., Smith, R.K. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation. Pages 635-732 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation - Published 2020

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