African Journal of Marine Science

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Fishing methods for sustainable shrimp fisheries in the Canary Islands (North-West Africa)

M Arrasate-López, VM Tuset, JI Santana, A García-Mederos, O Ayza, JA González


During the past 20 years, experimental cruises have been conducted around the Canary Islands (North-West Africa) to investigate the biodiversity of the deep-sea ecosystem and to explore new fisheries resources. Although pandalid shrimps were shown to be very abundant in this region, information is lacking regarding the best fishing method for catching the different species of shrimp. Here, two types of traps were tested, a semi-floating shrimp trap and a traditional bottom trap, in an effort to improve the fishing gear effectiveness and to reduce the capture of non-target species. In total, nine species were captured, which were categorised into three main groups based on their depth of capture: Plesionika edwardsii, P. narval and P. holtuisi (100–400 m); P. ensis, P. martia, P. williamsi and Heterocarpus ensifer (400–800 m); and H. grimaldii and H. laevigatus (800–1 300 m). Significant differences were found in the capture of the different species: P. narval, P. ensis, P. edwardsii and H. ensifer were captured more readily using the semi-floating traps, whereas P. martia, P. williamsi, H. grimaldii and H. laevigatus were caught more efficiently with traditional bottom traps. This intra-specific difference in their capture was considered to be due to the differential motility of the species P. edwardsii and H. ensifer are an unexploited resource that has the potential to support a viable and sustainable fishery using semi-floating shrimp traps. Furthermore, the deeper-dwelling pandalid shrimps, H. laevigatus and H. grimaldi, could be a secondary target species using bottom traps.

Keywords: accompanying species, bottom traps discard species, fishing efficiency, semi-floating shrimp trap, sustainable fisheries

African Journal of Marine Science 2012, 34(3): 331–339
AJOL African Journals Online