Lowestoft, United Kingdom
Lowestoft, United Kingdom

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Enever R.,Natural England | Revill A.S.,Cefas Lowestoft | Caslake R.,Sea Fish Industry Authority | Grant A.,University of East Anglia
Fisheries Research | Year: 2010

The survival of fish discarded after being caught can be improved by simple gear-based technical measures aimed at reducing discards. We look at the effects of three different codends on the initial health and short-term survival of trawl-caught skate (Rajidae), using a control codend (80 mm diamond mesh used as standard in the fishery) and two experimental codends (100 mm diamond mesh and 100 mm diamond mesh turned on the square). Both experimental nets reduced discarded numbers of fish by ∼70%, with no commercial loss. This reduction in discards had an effect in reducing the total weight of the experimental codends by as much as 80%. We also placed 278 skate in onboard holding tanks for 48 h and evaluated the survival rates of fish caught in the different codends. Visual inspection of "health" at time zero was a good indicator of survival, because 86% of skate with a good health score survived (p < 0.01). From a further 1539 skate assessed for health, we show that fish caught in the control codend have the lowest proportional good health score (25%), followed by the 100 mm diamond mesh codend (34%) and the 100 mm square mesh codend (47%). The health of the fish caught is related to codend weight (p = 0.01). We conclude that technical measures aimed at reducing discards have an additional benefit; they indirectly increase discard survival, and the benefits of mitigating discards through by-catch reduction devices may be a more powerful tool in fisheries management than previously thought. © 2009.


Rees E.M.A.,UK Environment Agency | Britton J.R.,Bournemouth University | Godard M.J.,Cefas Lowestoft | Crooks N.,Hampshire College | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Applied Ichthyology | Year: 2014

The efficacy and sub-lethal consequences of single and double tagging European catfish Silurus glanis with Petersen disc and passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags were examined in short (laboratory) and longer-term (field) experiments. Tag retention in the laboratory was 100%, with normal behaviour (i.e. feeding) in all fish returning within 36 h. In the field, 65 of 120 tagged S. glanis were recaptured from five small study ponds, with 85% retaining their PIT tags, though recapture rates and tagging efficacy were highly variable amongst locations. This is consistent with literature for other fishes, suggesting that tagging efficiency is variable across species and largely context dependent (fish length, tagging location, habitat). © 2013 Crown copyright.


Condie H.M.,University of East Anglia | Catchpole T.L.,CEFAS Lowestoft | Grant A.,University of East Anglia
ICES Journal of Marine Science | Year: 2014

A key objective of the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy reforms is the elimination of discards and a reduction in unwanted catches. Combining a discard ban with catch quotas, where all fish, independent of size, count towards quotas could create economic incentives for more selective fishing, reducing unwanted catches. We use fishing activities data from English North Sea otter trawlers to examine the impact of these measures on this fleet. Initial impacts depend on the scale of increase and distribution of quotas and are unevenly distributed, depending on catch and discard characteristics of vessels. Selective fishing will be rewarded as vessels that currently have low discards could increase catches and profits. Fishing by less selective vessels will be curtailed, reducing profits by 1-14%. This could be partially mitigated through reducing regulated catches but will require changes to fishing patterns as using currently available selective fishing gears may impact on profitability. So, catch quotas and a discard ban create strong incentives for more selective fishing practices, but also for non-compliance with full documentation of catches. A high level of monitoring and enforcement will be required to ensure that fishers improve profitability through more selective fishing practices rather than illegal discarding. © 2014 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. All rights reserved.


Condie H.M.,University of East Anglia | Grant A.,University of East Anglia | Catchpole T.L.,Cefas Lowestoft
Marine Policy | Year: 2014

The reduction of discards in European fisheries has been identified as a specific objective of the reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy. To reduce the uncertainty in catch data and the socially unacceptable waste of resources that results from the disposal of catch at sea, a policy to ban discards has been proposed. Discard bans are currently implemented in Alaska, British Columbia, New Zealand, the Faroe Islands, Norway and Iceland. Experience from these countries highlights that a policy of mandatory landings can result in a reduction in discards, but relies upon a high level of surveillance or economic incentives to encourage fishers to land more of their catch. Discard bans will also not result in long term benefits to stocks unless total removals are reduced, through the avoidance of undersized, non-commercial or over quota catch. Experience shows that additional management measures are required to incentivise such a move towards more selective fishing. Success has resulted from the use of area closures and bycatch limits, with potential applications in EU fisheries. However, selective fishing will not be a panacea for the current state of European fisheries; discard bans and accompanying measures must be embedded in a wider management system that constrains fishing mortality to reasonable levels before sustainable exploitation can occur. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Condie H.M.,University of East Anglia | Grant A.,University of East Anglia | Catchpole T.L.,CEFAS Lowestoft
Fisheries Research | Year: 2013

Reforms of the European Union Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will implement an EU wide ban on discarding phased in from 2015, requiring the landing of unwanted small and unmarketable fish. The Commission argues that this will create strong incentives for more selective fishing practices; however, there is little information to allow us to predict likely changes in fishing behaviour. Using detailed historic observer and logbook data from English North Sea otter trawlers and information on fish prices and landing costs, we examine the potential impact of a discard ban combined with either effort controls or catch quotas on the landings of an average trip. We calculate fishing incomes based on the assumption that existing fishing behaviour and catch compositions are maintained and compare this with incomes calculated on the assumption that all unwanted catch can be avoided. The difference provides an estimate of the maximum possible financial incentive for fishers to adopt more selective fishing practices. The calculations suggest that a discard ban in isolation will generate little economic incentive to operate more selectively. When combined with effort controls, a reduction in fishing effort may result in a proportional reduction in unwanted catches, but an incentive to actively avoid this catch is unlikely to be generated. Catch quotas would generate much stronger economic incentives, but only for the avoidance of the five quota species. So, contrary to the aims of the reformed CFP, a discard ban may not result in a dramatic reduction in unmarketable catches of all species. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Almeida D.,Cefas Lowestoft | Almeida D.,Bournemouth University | Rodolfo N.,University of Girona | Sayer C.D.,University College London | And 3 more authors.
Folia Zoologica | Year: 2013

Research in freshwater ecology has traditionally focused on water courses or large still waters. However, ponds support proportionately high levels of biodiversity relative to other inland waters in Europe, and foraging by Eurasian otter Lutra lutra (L., 1758) could have considerable impacts on species composition in these small water bodies. The aim of the present study was to analyse otter spraints around ponds during two contrasting seasons (winter and spring) in north Norfolk (eastern England), where both otter and ponds are of particular conservation concern. Spraint density, prey diversity and the consumption of river-associated species were higher in spring than winter. In both seasons, birds were the most important prey category as ingested biomass. European eel Anguilla anguilla (L., 1758) and amphibians, specifically common frog Rana temporaria L., 1758 and common toad Bufo bufo (L., 1758), were more consumed in spring, whereas northern pike Esox lucius L., 1758 and tench Tinca tinca (L., 1758) were taken in winter. Non-native common carp Cyprinus carpio L., 1758 was important in both seasons, whereas threatened native crucian carp Carassius carassius (L., 1758) was a minor prey item. Massive kills of common toad, which involved a new handling technique for predation on this species, were observed mainly in spring. The study demonstrated otters to display great plasticity in foraging behaviour and contributes to the understanding of otter predatory pressure on pond biodiversity, with implications for landscape management.


Barrett C.J.,Cefas Lowestoft | Johnson M.L.,University of Hull | Hall N.J.,University of Leeds | Hull S.L.,University of Hull
Marine Ecology | Year: 2015

Fulton's K condition factor was applied, for the first time, to inter-tidal specimens of the shanny (Lipophrys pholis) and long-spined scorpion fish (Taurulus bubalis) from two English rocky shore and two Welsh rocky shore sites during summer 2010 and winter 2011. As both species contribute to the diet of commercial species such as cod (Gadus morhua) and near-threatened species such as the European otter (Lutra lutra), their condition may affect that of these predators. Fulton's K found that inter-tidal Welsh fish maintained a 'good' condition between seasons, whereas the inter-tidal English fish were in a poorer condition during winter. Although condition also changed amongst the sites on each coast, further studies are needed into fish morphologies, environmental parameters, prey availabilities and abundances, and fish specimen sex and maturities. © 2014 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

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