New extension technique for multiple BRD codends in the Qld eastcoast trawl fishery

Commercial fishers are often asked to use new fishing techniques in their day to day fishing activities to improve bycatch reduduction and increase survivability of released or discarded species. This process is expensive and time consuming for the commercial fisher, and is often a barrier to rapid understanding, acceptance and uptake of improved fishing practices.

To try and relieve some of these barriers in the decision making process, our Cairns based SeaNet Officer and Popeye Netmaking have financed and built 2 trial codends that will be used by interested trawl fishers in the Qld east coast trawl fishery this 2007 season. Two volunteer trawl fishers will be given a codend to use for a month to assess the codend’s performance on their own vessels without incurring any start-up costs. At the end of the month the codends will be passed onto the next volunteer and repeated until season’s end. The first 3 months of the season are already booked.

In this manner it is hoped that at least16 different trawl fishers will be able to trial the codends for a comparison with their own gear, thus allowing them time to make decisions about how best to utilize this BRD information and do some modifications with their own trawl gear.

The 120 x 120, 1 ¬ĺ inch mesh codends are designed to suit the standard 5 fathom east coast trawl net and are fitted with:

  • a stainless steel bottom shooter TED;
  • the Popeye fishbox BRD installed at 70 meshes up from the drawstring. With an additional water deflection plate installed as a new modification;
  • a 30 mesh T90 section installed behind the BRD;
  • directional funnel under the fishbox;
  • water pressure activated green lights situated in the curve of the fishbox; and
  • skirts, drawstings , TED flaps with bubbles and lifting ears.

These codends should be able to be sewn onto any 5 fathom net and with lazy lines attached be ready to shoot away.

The photograph left shows the 30 mesh T90 codend section sown in behind Popeye fishbox BRD. The additional water deflection plate can be seen behind the curved section of the BRD. The curved section has an 8inch dia. The dimensions of the escape opening are 15 inches x 20 inches, (380 x 510 mm)

The water pressure activated green lights are a trial to see if light will assist fish to find the escape opening. The lights are very easy to install and remove so using them on consecutive nights will give some idea of their effectiveness.

The T90 section is a 30 mesh section that is turned 90 degrees so that the knots keep the meshes open rather than allowing them to close. These open meshes do a similar job to the square mesh sections.

The section is the same size mesh as the rest of the codend.

The photograph right shows the TED turned 90 degrees to view the escape opening.
The TED is constructed from ¬Ĺ inch Stainless steel. The height is 3 ft 10 inches (1 metre 170mm), width is 3ft (915mm). This gives the outside circumference of nearly 12 feet, which fully expands the 120 mesh round codend.

Queesland eastcoast trawl fishers who are interested in using the codends to compare performance with their own fishing gear are welcome to contact Dave Schubert on 0409347495

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