This study reviews operational practises and protected species interactions in inshore trawl fisheries, as documented by government fisheries observers in New Zealand. Information collected during 4,762 trawl events on 33 vessels across the inshore fleet from October 2013–December 2016 recorded a diverse range of protected species caught in nets, on warps (trawl cables) and as bird strike in observed inshore trawl operations.Incidental capture of protected species in commercial fisheries is a global issue.
Efforts to develop effective mitigation hinge on understanding the extent of protected species interactions and how they occur. In New Zealand, work to quantify protected species captures and understand potential drivers has been extensive in some fisheries and areas. However, there is uncertainty around the nature and extent of protected species interactions in inshore fisheries.
In this study we focus on the inshore trawl fleet and its protected species interactions. The inshore trawl sector is variable in terms of target fish species, vessel size, fishing practises, gear use and the protected species the vessels overlap with. To reduce risk to protected species it is important to understand the nature and extent of interactions in inshore trawl fisheries, and what factors influence capture events.
Recommendations cover mitigation equipment and operational practices that could help reduce protected species bycatch, as well as research areas to progress for mitigating protected species captures in the inshore trawl fleet. Recommendations are also provided for enhancing data collection to improve understanding of the nature and extent of protected species captures in inshore trawl operations.
Parker, G.C. and Rexer-Huber, K. 2019. Characterisation and mitigation of protected species interactions in inshore trawl fisheries. Report to Conservation Services Programme. Parker Conservation, Dunedin. 45 p.