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Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Vol 6 No 7: Collection of bycatch data for spurdog (Squalus acanthias) in the North Minch fishery: Report of Fishing Industry Science Alliance (FISA) Project 02/13

Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Vol 6 No 7: Collection of bycatch data for spurdog (Squalus acanthias) in the North Minch fishery: Report of Fishing Industry Science Alliance (FISA) Project 02/13

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

ISBN: 9781785443961

Report presenting new data on the levels of spurdog bycatch, locations of by-catch and biological information in terms of the sizes and sex of the fish caught in order to inform the debate on whether a controlled incidental by-catch (i.e. not targeted) fishery for spurdog could be considered. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7489/1617-1

Executive Summary

Stock assessments by ICES and others (De Oliveira et al. 2013, ICES 2014) suggest that the north-eastern Atlantic stock is at a historically low level and in consequence a zero TAC has been set (European Commission 2015). The project was proposed to FISA after discussion with fishers from Barra and Stornoway who fish for Nephrops in the Minches and Sea of Hebrides using single or twin-rig otter trawls. According to the fishers the majority of the spurdog caught in this area are predominantly small to medium-sized male fish. Pawson et al. (2009) suggested that controlled fisheries for small male spurdog (i.e. avoiding the mature female components of the stock) might not be damaging to the stocks overall so the industry are keen to explore whether a controlled by-catch fishery could be allowed.