‘Deployment will reduce by-catch and improve sustainability of fishing operations’
The deployment of square mesh cod-ends in trawling operations considerably reduces by-catch and improves sustainability of fishing operations, say studies conducted under the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) in cooperation with the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Mandapam, Tamil Nadu, and the All Kerala Fishing Boat Owners Association in Kollam.
Scientists associated with the study said the implementation of the Kerala Marine Fishing Regulation Act, which prescribed the use of square mesh cod-ends in small and big trawlers, would go a long way in providing long-term benefits for fishers and help maintain a sustainable marine ecosystem.
Field trials to demonstrate the utility of square mesh cod-ends in place of diamond cod-ends in trawl nets were carried out at Shakthikulangara fishing harbour, Kollam, where two trawlers with the same dimension and engine power but with different cod-ends were selected for demonstrations in February this year.
No changes were made in the traditional fishing methods used by the fishers in the region. Only the cod-end portion of the trawl net was changed for the studies.
Chinnadurai S., scientist, and Nobi P.S. and Dhijudas P.H., technical officers from ICAR-CIFT, were present to manage the fishing operations and collect and quantify the catch. Fishers were actively involved in the study to gain first-hand knowledge of the process and experience the difference in catch and price obtained.
The study results showed that the size of the shrimps caught in square mesh cod-ends had increased by 10% and revenue from the fishing expedition increased by 23.7%. The fishers were satisfied with the catch with lesser quantity of debris and juveniles when compared to to the traditional diamond mesh cod-ends.