The capacity of benthos release panels to reduce the impacts of beam trawls on benthic communities.

  • Published source details Revill A.S. & Jennings S. (2005) The capacity of benthos release panels to reduce the impacts of beam trawls on benthic communities.. Fisheries Research, 73, 73-85.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Fit one or more mesh escape panels/windows to trawl nets

Action Link
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
  1. Fit one or more mesh escape panels/windows to trawl nets

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in 2002–2004 in six seabed areas in the western English Channel and the North Sea, UK, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands (Revill & Jennings 2005) found that nets fitted with either one of seven designs of square mesh benthos-release panels (“bycatch reduction device”) caught less non-commercial unwanted catch of invertebrates (discard), compared to unmodified nets, and invertebrates escaping the nets had high survival rates. The two designs that reduced discards the most compared to unmodified nets consisted of 150 mm mesh with 5 mm diameter double twine (with panel: 1,988 individuals caught, without: 9,802 individuals) and 150 mm mesh with 6 mm diameter single twine (with panel: 5,286 individuals, without: 21,128 individuals). Overall survival rates (all designs combined) of escaped invertebrates were high (93–100% depending on species). In addition, five of the seven designs caught a similar amount of commercially targeted species (including the two that led to the greatest reductions in discards). These five designs reduced invertebrate discard by 48–80%. The other two designs led to 17–20% losses of target species (reductions in invertebrate discards not shown). The designs were tested on commercial beam trawls at 20–80 m depth. One trawl fitted with a panel and an unmodified trawl were towed simultaneously (4–24 tows/design). All commercial fish caught during the trials were counted and measured, and benthic invertebrates were counted and identified to species level. Invertebrates that had escaped through the panels were caught in a sled fitted to the underside of the trawl, and their survival in tanks assessed over three days.

    (Summarised by: Anaëlle Lemasson & Laura Pettit)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust