Use of a semi-pelagic trawl in a tropical demersal trawl fishery

  • Published source details Ramm D.C., Mounsey R.P., Xiao Y. & Poole S.E. (1993) Use of a semi-pelagic trawl in a tropical demersal trawl fishery. Fisheries Research, 15, 301-313.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use an alternative commercial fishing method

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Use an alternative commercial fishing method

    A replicated, controlled study in 1991 of fishing grounds over mud and coral reef in the Arafura Sea, off Northern Australia (Ramm et al. 1993) found that using an alternative method of fishing (semi-pelagic trawl, towed just above the seabed) to target snapper Lutjanus spp. reduced the unwanted fish catch overall, and of just over half of the species individually, compared to traditional demersal (bottom-towed) trawls. Catch rates of unwanted fish were lower in semi-pelagic trawls (195 kg/tow) than traditional demersal trawls (453 kg/tow). Catch rates of 75 unwanted fish species were lower in semi-pelagic trawls, 52 fish species were similar between trawl types, and seven species were caught more frequently in semi-pelagic trawls (see paper for species individual data). In addition, catches of marketable commercial fish were similar between trawl types for 10 of 16 species groups (semi-pelagic trawl: 392 kg/tow, demersal trawl: 320 kg/tow). Fourteen tows were undertaken in March 1991 for each of a semi-pelagic trawl (0.3 m above the seabed) with a buoyed headline, and a traditional demersal trawl. Both trawl nets had a similar codend volume with 112 mm mesh size, 65 m trawl widths and were towed for 3 h. Full details of trawl design are provided in the original study. All catches were weighed, and fish identified.

    (Summarised by: Leo Clarke)

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 18

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 Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust