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Assessment of the Species Catch Composition in the Inshore Commercial Static Gear Fleet

Project Outputs

Over 90% of active fishing vessels in the inshore fleet use pots and nets to target crustaceans. Non-retained by-catch in these fisheries are significant especially in the static net (tangle net and gill net) metier. Commercial and non-commercial finfish are also captured in pots and some of this may be retained for bait. Fishing effort in the potting metier is unknown but involves over 200,000 traps and millions of trap hauls per annum. Monitoring of retained and non-retrained by-catch including endangered and protected species is important information for management of biodiversity and to inform the implementation of Habitats and Birds Directives and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Furthermore data on retained and non-retained by-catch is necessary for accreditation of fisheries under schemes such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). By-catch was identified as a data gap in the recent MSC pre-assessment for brown crab (Cancer pagurus) completed by the MI.

The project contracted observers to work on potting and netting vessels during 2016 to record targeted catch and by-catch.


The project had a 1 year duration and project work was carried out in 2016.

Project Outputs:
  • Data sets and fishery indicators for retained and non-retained catch in the potting sector
  • Data on fishing position, fishing effort, catch of the target species, the species used to bait pots, the use of trammel nets by potting boats to catch bait, species and quantity of by-catch and the size and sex distribution of target and by-catch commercial species was recorded
  • Over 60 trips at sea completed
Expected Benefit:
Improved knowledge on the retained and non-retained catch in the potting sector and evaluation of effect of this fishery on the wider ecosystem and biodiversity. Data are relevant to Marine Strategy Framework Directive D1 (biodiversity) and D3 (commercial fish catches) descriptors, to the Data Collection Framework for commercial fisheries and to the development of national management advice on inshore fisheries.
Further Information:
Contact Oliver Tully at
Project Cost - Actual
Project Status: