Development of discard-reducing gears and practices in the estuarine prawn and fish haul fisheries of NSW
NSW Department Of Primary Industries
Charles A. Gray
Whilst public consternation may be sufficient reason for fisheries managers and scientists to seek solutions to this issue, there are also many biological and economic reasons for doing so. Firstly, there is a clear need to determine the real (not just perceived) level of the problem and how it varies in space and time and among particular fishing methods. If the anecdotal reports of large quantities of juvenile fish being discarded prove correct (addressed in the first stage of the proposed project), and if we can ameliorate such discarding (addressed in the second stage), there would be obvious large and long-term benefits to all interacting recreational and commercial fisheries targetting these species. Further, reducing discards from prawn and fish hauling will improve the efficiencies of these operations and could improve the quality (and even the quantity) of the product - especially in the case of prawn hauling. The consequences of not completing this study could be substantial. It is possible that in the absence of information, a ban may be inevitable.
1. To identify and quantify the by-catch, discards and landed catches from prawn and fish hauling at a variety of locations throughout NSW using a stratified, randomized observer-based survey; these data will be used to determine key gears, methods, areas and times of discarding that will be addressed in Objective 2.
2. To develop, test and implement modifications to current hauling gears and fishing practices that will decrease the identified problematic discards.
Principal Investigator: Charles A. Gray & Steven J. Kennelly