1. To assess the performance of a low headline Nephrops trawl incorporating 115 mm mesh lower wing, 160 mm mesh top wing, Bobbin (centre) ground gear section and 200 mm square mesh panel rigged at 9-12 m from the codline in reducing unwanted fish by-catches. This trawl will be compared against a standard low headline trawl incorporating a 'Ballooned' headline and 110 mm square mesh panel.
This charter is being funded by the Gear Innovation and Technology Group (GITAG). Staff and equipment will join Zenith at Fraserburgh on 24 May. Prior to sailing both test and control trawls will be inspected and key measurements recorded. Throughout the trials the twin trawl method will be used to assess the performance of the test trawl compared to the control trawl. Catch comparison data will be collected using 100 mm diamond mesh codends. The intention is to collect length data for all cod, haddock, whiting, anglerfish, flatfish and if available weight data for Nephrops. During the survey the test and control trawl with be swapped over to negate any port/starboard bias in terms of catchability. On leaving port the vessel will sail to suitable Nephrops fishing grounds just north of Fraserburgh and conduct short hauls to assess the fishing performance of the new test trawl and the symmetry of the twin trawl system. Thereafter, the vessel will sail to commercial fishing grounds in the North Sea and commence catch comparison hauls for the remainder of the survey.
Matt Kinghorn (Marine Scotland Aberdeen Marine Laboratory)