Section 70
Chapter 69,161

Effect of pot design on the catch efficiency of snow crabs (Chionoecetes opilio) in the Barents Sea fishery

Olsen, L.; Herrmann, B.; Grimaldo, E.; Sistiaga, M.

Plos one 14(7): E0219858


ISSN/ISBN: 1932-6203
PMID: 31318950
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0219858
Accession: 069160262

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The snow crab (Chioneocetes opilio) fishery in the Barents Sea is carried out by large offshore vessels, as the fishing grounds are located far from shore and the gear must be transported back and forth over long distances. Therefore, fishers use stackable conical pots that allow large numbers of pots to be carried on deck for each trip. One of the drawbacks of using stackable pots is that the entrance is at the vertex of the conical pot, which fishers claim does not provide the desired fishing efficiency. Thus, the goal of this study was to determine whether a different pot design would improve the catch efficiency of snow crabs. We investigated the efficiency of a new type of pot called the moon pot, which provides continuous increased bait odour intensity as snow crabs make their way towards the entrance of the pot. This alteration was expected to increase catch efficiency compared to that of the conical pots used by the fleet today. However, experimental fishing results showed that the modified pots had significantly lower catch efficiency than the standard conical pots, as only ~66% of the number of crabs caught by the conical pots were caught in the moon pots. The main reason for this reduced catch efficiency likely was the initial steepness of the moon pot, which may have made it difficult for crabs to reach the pot entrance. These results demonstrated that pot design can dramatically affect catch efficiency of snow crabs.

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