Trawl selectivity for Skagerak and Kattegat
New selectivity rules apply to Swedish vessels fishing in the Skagerak and Kattegat. Image: Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management

Trawl selectivity for Skagerak and Kattegat

New rules are now being introduced in the Skagerak and Kattegat, requiring more selective gear for langoustine and groundfish fisheries

‘This will reduce the pressure on the heavily exposed cod stocks,’ said Karin Linderholm, a researcher at the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (HaV), commenting that stock situation for cod, especially the Kattegat, is serious.

Quotas have been reduced considerably this year, and new measures are being introduced this year to reduce pressure on stocks judged to be below biologically safe limits, and other non-target species.

A 300mm square mesh panel will be required with Seltra gear in the Skagerak from 1st November, and this is also required under an EU regulation in the Kattegat from 31st May. Seltra trawl gear for langoustine can be fitted with the 300mm panel from 31st May in Skagerak and Kattegat waters.

‘This means fishermen will be using trawls with larger meshes and escape openings. This means that more cod survive, remain in the sea and can continue to grow,’ Karin Linderholm said.

The new fishing arrangements have been developed together with the Swedish Fishermen’s Producer Organisation (SFPO) and the Marine and Coastal Fishermen’s Producer Organisation (HKPO) and SLU, the Swedish University of Agriculture. Sea trials have been completed.

‘We see it as very positive that the professional fishermen have been involved in the development and support the new rules, especially as this tightening of the rules only applies to Swedish fishermen,’ Karin Linderholm commented.

‘The development of selective and gentle gear is an important tool in fish management and it must take place in dialogue between fisheries, research and management,’ said Niclas Törnell, head of the fisheries management department at HaV.

‘We will continue to work with increased selectivity in fisheries, partly within the framework of the voluntary commitments that Sweden has raised in international marine environment work and partly in our ongoing work to develop a strategy for future fisheries and aquaculture. We do this work together with the relevant stakeholders.’