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The effects of trawling on the physical condition of the Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus in relation to seasonal cycles in the Clyde Sea area

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  • Ql Zoology


The fishery for Norway lobster, Nephrops norvegicus, is the most valuable in Scotland, but few studies have examined the physical condition of the animals trawled. This study aimed to determine the extent of physical damage caused by trawling to Nephrops in the Clyde Sea area in relation to trawl duration, sex, size, and moult stage. Longer trawls (2.5-4h) corresponded to increased damage in "hard" (intermoult) Nephrops compared with short (1 h) or very short (15 min) trawls, but there was no correlation in "soft" (late intermoult or recently moulted) of "jelly" (immediate post-moult) Nephrops. This effect appeared to be limited to Nephrops with a carapace length (CL) of 20.0-29.9mm. Seasonal effects were also observed, with numbers of jelly Nephrops highest in May 2006, corresponding to a peak in female prevalence in the catches, an increase in the mean CL of females, and greater damage in females. The proportion of females was higher than males from May to September 2006, and it is suggested that this corresponds to female emergence patterns. As quality will be low, it may be pertinent to avoid fishing during the peak emergence period to maximize the quality and profitability of catches

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