Trials of a High-lift Trawl Net for Bycatch Reduction

SESSF Industry Development Subprogram: Field trials of a high-lift trawl net for bycatch reduction

Data collected during this project has shown that the high-lift net has the potential to reduce the bycatch of small, high-discard species such as Silver Dory, Blacktip Cucumberfish and Spikey Dogfish.  Catch rates of these groups were 45–50% lower than the control net.  Quality of the catch by the high-lift net was improved due to less damage to the fish in the codend, and shorter sorting times on deck because of reduced bycatch.  There was not a significant difference in the overall catch rate of commercial species, but there was a reduction in the catch rate of one of commercially important species – deepwater flathead. Currently, four of the five trawl vessels operating out of Portland use the high-lift net, and adoption by the wider trawl fleet may further reduce discard levels of small fish in accordance with Australian Fisheries Management Authority requirements.