Evaluation of the impact of electro shrimp trawl fishery

Marieke Desender, Hans Polet, Koen Chiers, Maarten Soetaert, Annemie Decostere

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingC3: Conference Abstract

    Abstract

    Desender Marieke 1,3, Polet Hans1, Chiers Koen2, Soetaert Maarten1,2, Decostere Annemie3

    1. Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Animal Sciences - Fisheries, Ankerstraat 1, 8400 Oostende, Belgium
    2. Department of Pathology, Bacteriology & Poultry Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine – Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133 Merelbeke, Belgium
    3. Department of Morphology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine – Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133 Merelbeke, Belgium
    E-mail: marieke.desender@ugent.be

    Bottom trawling, used for catching brown shrimp, is known to produce large amounts of discards and to disturb the seafloor habitat of benthic organisms. In order to consider ecological certification and increase the sustainability of these fisheries, technical adaptations are necessary to avoid these problems. Electric pulse fields have proven to be the most promising option for alternative stimulation in fishing gear, replacing the mechanical stimulation.

    Since 2008 the Belgian ILVO research institute has been successfully testing their Hovercran electro pulse trawl for brown shrimp fishery. In this device the bobbin rope is replaced by light weight electrodes creating a low-intensity electric field which selectively induces a startle response in the shrimps. Other benthic organisms are left untouched and can escape underneath the hovering trawl that collects the jumping shrimps without disturbing the seabed.

    Nevertheless, effects of suchlike electric pulse field on marine organisms are largely unknown. Preliminary exposure and survival experiments indicated that this low frequency pulse has no immediate significant effects on most adult fish and invertebrates. However, electro sensitive fish, like sharks and rays, and polychaete species were not included in these studies. Additionally, the influence on different life stages has never before been investigated, although electrofishing over active spawning grounds may affect survival of embryos, larvae or juveniles if exposed during their more sensitive stages. Further research to fill these gaps in knowledge hence is crucial to revalue pulse fishing and to provide information enabling to lift the standing ban on electric fishing in the EU.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2nd Scientifc Meeting of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (University of Liège – Belgium)
    Publication date19-Oct-2012
    Publication statusPublished - 19-Oct-2012
    EventFMV 2nd edition Scientific day 2012 - Liège, Belgium
    Duration: 19-Oct-2012 → …
    http://www.fmv.ulg.ac.be/upload/docs/application/pdf/2012-12/proceedings2012.pdf

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