Catch yield and selectivity of a modified scallop dredge to reduce seabed impact

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  • Mairi Fenton
    Heriot-Watt University
  • Claire Szostek
    University of Exeter
  • Adam Delargy
    University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
  • Andrew F Johnson
    Heriot-Watt University
  • Michel J Kaiser
    Heriot-Watt University
  • Hilmar Hinz
    Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA)
  • Natalie Hold
  • Marija Sciberras
    Heriot-Watt University
Global scallop fisheries are economically important but are associated with environmental impacts to seabed communities resulting from the direct physical contact of the fishing gear with the seabed. Gear modifications attempting to reduce this contact must be economically feasible such that the catch numbers for the target species is maintained or increased. This study investigated the outcome of reducing seabed contact on retained catch of scallops and bycatch by the addition of skids to the bottom of the collecting bag of scallop dredges. We used a paired control experimental design to investigate the impact of the gear modification in different habitat types. The modified skid dredge generally caught more marketable scallops per unit area fished compared with the standard dredge (+5%). However, the skid dredge also retained more bycatch (+11%) and more undersize scallops (+16%). The performance of the two dredges was habitat specific which indicates the importance of adjusting management measures in relation to habitat type. To realize the potential environmental benefits associated with the improvement in catchability of this gear modification, further gear modification is required to reduce the catch of undersize scallops and bycatch. Furthermore we advocate that technical gear innovations in scallop dredging need to be part of a comprehensive and effective fisheries management system


  • Animals, Conservation of Natural Resources/methods, Ecosystem, Fisheries, Pectinidae
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0302225
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2024
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