Assessment of Juvenile Bycatch Survivability....
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GRANT NUMBER:  NA16FL0068           NMFS NUMBER: 90-NER-010

REPORT TITLE: Assessment of Juvenile Bycatch Survivability in the Northeast Fishing Industry

AUTHOR: Robinson, William E. and Carr, H. Arnold

PUBLISH DATE: May 11, 1993

AVAILABLE FROM:  National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Region, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930-2298.  PHONE: (508) 281-9256


The objective of this project was to assess the juvenile bycatch survivability of cod and other important groundfish species.  Survival data was collected on three bottom-dwelling species, one gadoid (Atlantic cod) and two flatfish (American plaice and yellowtail flounder). Yellowtail flounder exhibited the greatest resistance to fishing induced stress. Plaice were intermediate in survivability, with Atlantic cod being the most susceptible to fishing-induced mortality. Cod and plaice experienced lower mortality during the April survey than during the June survey, indicating that the higher surface water and air temperatures, and/or differences in other environmental parameters during the warmer summer months may have a profound effect on survival. The nonparametric statistics used in this study to determine the degree to which the various environmental factors affect survivability indicated that cod survival was influenced by air temperature, deck time, fish length, tow duration and tow weight, whereas plaice survival was impacted by air temperature and deck time. The ability of these nonparametric statistics to detect relationships depended heavily on adequate sample size, which was not always present. The information gathered during this investigation provides a strong basis to determine actual survival of cod, plaice and yellowtail during different seasons.   Indications are that the cod-end escapees of the three species had high survival rates (>91 percent). This high survival rate supports the concept of conservation by using selective trawl gear that will release juvenile groundfish.

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