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Commercial fishing vessels can be a cost-effective alternative to research vessels for performing towed gear fishery-independent surveys, if catch rates are comparable among commercial vessels and with research vessels. A parallel fishing experiment was conducted off the coast of Wales, United Kingdom, to compare the king scallop (Pecten maximus) catch rates of three commercial vessels using commercial dredges and a research vessel using two types of scientifically modified dredges. The scientific dredges are currently used in the fishery-independent survey of local scallop populations. Size-structured scallop catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) was compared among vessel-gear combinations. Two similarly sized commercial vessels had generally similar CPUEs, however there were some significant differences with scallop size. A smaller commercial vessel had significantly lower CPUEs for a broad range of scallop sizes. The research vessel dredges had significantly higher CPUE for smaller scallops than the commercial vessels. Vessel size is likely to be driving the differences among commercial vessels and belly ring size is likely to be driving differences among research and commercial dredges. These findings highlight commercial vessel CPUE should not be assumed the same, whilst also showing that vessel size may be the best indicator of catch rate similarity. These results also highlight that changing the fishery-independent vessel and gear to the commercial options trialled here would result in a considerable loss of information about the smaller scallops in the population. These findings will be of interest to fishery scientists or managers using multiple vessels, or considering a change of vessels, for fishery-independent surveys.


  • catch rates, catch comparison, scallop dredging, survey design, gear design
Original languageEnglish
Article number106371
JournalFisheries Research
Issue number106371
Early online date14 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022

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