Journal Article

Influence of mesh size and tooth spacing on the proportion of damaged organisms in the catches of the Portuguese clam dredge fishery

Miguel B. Gaspar, Francisco Leitão, Miguel N. Santos, Manuel Sobral, Luís Chícharo, Alexandra Chícharo and Carlos C. Monteiro

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 59, issue 6, pages 1228-1236
Published in print January 2002 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2002 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jmsc.2002.1310
Influence of mesh size and tooth spacing on the proportion of damaged organisms in the catches of the Portuguese clam dredge fishery

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Experiments to assess the effect of mesh size and tooth spacing on the catch of Spisula solida were undertaken with the aim of determining an optimal combination of these two characteristics to minimize the dredging impact on by-catch species. However, our data showed that tooth spacing, mesh size and the interactions between these two factors did not affect the number of damaged macrofaunal individual's caught. This may be because infauna entered the dredge without passing through the space between the teeth and the mesh of the net bag closed as it was stretched by the weight of the contents, preventing the escape of the caught individuals. Thus, independently of mesh size, when the dredge is towed over the sediment, the retained individuals were injured due to abrasion between animals and/or between animals and debris. The severity of injuries inflicted by dredging on different macrobenthic species is related to their morphology and fragility.

Keywords: clam fishery; direct mortality; dredge; gear impact; tooth spacing; mesh size

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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