Design and assessment of two gear modifications to reduce the benthic impact and fuel intensity of prawn trawling in Australia

Sterling, D. and S. Eayrs
Journal/Publisher Name
ICES Journal of Marine Science
Modified ground gear, known as batwing otter boards, created less disturbance to the seafloor than traditional otter boards in the Australian prawn trawl fishery, decreasing bycatch of benthic squirts and starfish by approximately 85-90%. The target catch of both prawns and scallops decreased by about 10%. Modified ground gear, called soft-brush ground gear, reduced bycatch of starfish by 35% but increased bycatch of nektobenthic species including small crabs and non-target prawns in the Australian prawn trawl fishery. The target catch of prawns decreased 10% while scallop catch increased 10%.