New Device Lets Small Crabs out; Fisheries Qld Trial Aims to Reduce Illegal Bycatch

Article excerpt

FISHERIES Queensland observers are helping commercial mud crabbers trial a new device that aims to reduce bycatch of under-sized mud crabs and potentially increase catch rates of legal-sized mud crabs.

Fisheries Queensland observer co-ordinator Dr Julia Davies said the mud crab escape vents are now being tested by numerous commercial fishers throughout Queensland.

C[pounds sterling]The mud crab escape vents were developed by Dr Mark Grubert and his team at the Northern Territory Fisheries Division,C[yen] Dr Davies said.

C[pounds sterling]Following success in the Northern Territory, Fisheries Queensland is working with fishers to trial the vents in the Queensland crab fishery.

C[pounds sterling]Results from the Northern Territory showed a reduction in the catch rate of under-sized crabs of up to 40% and an increase in catch rate of legal-sized males of up to 30%, so we're hoping to see a similar result for Queensland fishers.

C[pounds sterling]There are also other benefits, such as juvenile crabs can exit pots without being damaged or cannibalised by other crabs. …

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