Selective properties of the cutaway trawl and several other commercial trawls used in the Farne Deeps North Sea Nephrops fishery

  • Published source details Revill A., Dunlin G. & Holst R. (2006) Selective properties of the cutaway trawl and several other commercial trawls used in the Farne Deeps North Sea Nephrops fishery. Fisheries Research, 81, 268-275.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use a topless (coverless) trawl

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Use a topless (coverless) trawl

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in 2005 in an area of seabed in the Farne Deeps in the North Sea off northeast England, UK (Revill et al. 2006) found that using a topless prawn bottom trawl net (a ‘cutaway’ trawl) reduced the discarded catches of one of four commercial fish species, compared to a conventional commercial trawl net. Total catches of undersized whiting Merlangius merlangus (<27 cm) were lower with the topless/cutaway trawl (whiting: 10,169 fish; compared to the conventional trawl (cutaway: 10,169 fish, conventional: 4,006 fish). Total catches of undersized Atlantic cod Gadus morhua (<35 cm) and lemon sole Microstomus kitt (<25 cm) were similar between trawl types (cod, cutaway: 110 fish, conventional: 58 fish; lemon sole, cutaway: 1,024 fish, conventional: 895 fish). More undersized plaice Pleuronectes platessa (<25 cm) were caught with the cutaway trawl (358 fish) than the conventional trawl (187 fish) however the authors noted that this may have been due to the cutaway trawl maintaining more consistent contact with the seabed. Commercial target Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus catch weights were similar in the cutaway (1,613 kg) and conventional trawls (1,536 kg). Data were collected from 26 experimental trawl net deployments on a commercial vessel in March/April 2005 using twin trawls towed parallel. One of the trawls had a new design of trawl (‘cutaway’) with a shortened headline, and the other side was a conventional trawl used in the commercial fishery for Nephrops. All trawls also included a mandatory square mesh panel in the upper panel. Full details of trawl designs are provided in the original study.

    (Summarised by: Leo Clarke)

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