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# Comparing the Effectiveness of Traditional and Alternative Baits in Prince Edward Island, Canada Lobster Fishery

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The American lobster (Homarus americanus) fishery is an economically important commercial activity in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada. This fishery requires substantial amounts of bait, resulting in an emerging conservation challenge. To address this issue, an alternative lobster bait, manufactured using fresh and process pelagic fish, and dehydrated fish, corresponding to 75% less fresh pelagic fish than traditional bait has been developed by Bait Masters Inc. The performance of the alternative bait compared to that of the traditional bait was evaluated in a field study. This field trial was conducted in eight lobster fishing bays around PEI, during the 2019 lobster fishing seasons. Bait effectiveness was assessed based on catch-per-unit-effort (total lobsters and number of legal-sized lobsters caught per trap), and the ability to produce a catch. An average of five lobsters per trap were caught for both alternative and traditional baits. The results showed that both lobster bait types performed equally well in all PEI lobster fishing areas studied. This indicates that the alternative bait is a viable replacement for traditional bait, allowing the lobster fishery industry to address the bait-species shortage and ongoing conservation challenge.
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fmars-07-589549 October 18, 2020 Time: 19:6 # 1
BRIEF RESEARCH REPORT
published: 23 October 2020
doi: 10.3389/fmars.2020.589549
Edited by:
Andrés M. Cisneros-Montemayor,
The University of British Columbia,
Reviewed by:
University of Aveiro, Portugal
Claudio Vasapollo,
Independent Researcher, Ancona,
Italy
*Correspondence:
Marina K. V. C. Delphino
mdelphino@upei.ca
Specialty section:
Marine Fisheries, Aquaculture
and Living Resources,
a section of the journal
Frontiers in Marine Science
Accepted: 06 October 2020
Published: 23 October 2020
Citation:
Patanasatienkul T,
Delphino MKVC and Thakur KK
(2020) Comparing the Effectiveness
Lobster Fishery.
Front. Mar. Sci. 7:589549.
doi: 10.3389/fmars.2020.589549
Comparing the Effectiveness of
Lobster Fishery
Thitiwan Patanasatienkul, Marina K. V. C. Delphino*and Krishna K. Thakur
Centre for Veterinary Epidemiological Research, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island,
The American lobster (Homarus americanus) ﬁshery is an economically important
commercial activity in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada. This ﬁshery requires
substantial amounts of bait, resulting in an emerging conservation challenge. To address
this issue, an alternative lobster bait, manufactured using fresh and process pelagic
ﬁsh, and dehydrated ﬁsh, corresponding to 75% less fresh pelagic ﬁsh than traditional
bait has been developed by Bait Masters Inc. The performance of the alternative bait
compared to that of the traditional bait was evaluated in a ﬁeld study. This ﬁeld trial
was conducted in eight lobster ﬁshing bays around PEI, during the 2019 lobster ﬁshing
seasons. Bait effectiveness was assessed based on catch-per-unit-effort (total lobsters
and number of legal-sized lobsters caught per trap), and the ability to produce a catch.
An average of ﬁve lobsters per trap were caught for both alternative and traditional baits.
The results showed that both lobster bait types performed equally well in all PEI lobster
ﬁshing areas studied. This indicates that the alternative bait is a viable replacement for
traditional bait, allowing the lobster ﬁshery industry to address the bait-species shortage
and ongoing conservation challenge.
Keywords: alternative bait, lobster, forage ﬁsh, ﬁshery, sustainability, bait
INTRODUCTION
American lobster (Homarus americanus) is an iconic Canadian species and the country’s most
valuable seafood export, having generated a total of $2.6 million CAD in international exports in 2019 (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2020a). Lobster ﬁshery is an economically important commercial activity for Prince Edward Island (PEI), which accounts for approximately 17.5% (17,014 metric tonnes) of the annual Canadian lobster landings (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2018). PEI has two lobster ﬁshing seasons. The spring lobster ﬁshing season runs from May to June and provides about 80% of the annual landing. The second season runs in late summer, from mid-August to mid-October, but is often referred to as fall lobster ﬁshing season (Province of PEI, 2013). Conservation practices, including the implementation of a minimum legal harvesting size, ﬁshing seasons, escape mechanisms in the traps (for undersized lobsters), the number of ﬁshing licenses and limits on the number of traps laid have contributed to the stable and successful development of this ﬁshery (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2013). Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 1October 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 589549 fmars-07-589549 October 18, 2020 Time: 19:6 # 2 Patanasatienkul et al. Effectiveness of Alternative Lobster Bait Lobsters are caught in baited traps placed on the bottom of the sea. Commercial lobster ﬁshing requires a signiﬁcant amount of bait that traditionally relies heavily on forage ﬁsh such as herring (Clupea harengus harengus) or mackerel (Scomber scombrus) (Harnish and Willison, 2009;Dellinger et al., 2016). This practice is resource consuming for ﬁshermen and depletes bait species stocks. Consequently, the overﬁshing of forage ﬁsh for crustacean bait and to meet other competing demands, such as human consumption, has led to the emergence of conservation challenges for these ﬁsh species. As traditional baits become scarcer, eﬀorts have been made to produce more sustainable alternative baits, to alleviate some of the pressure that is currently placed on bait species used by the industry (Chanes-Miranda and Viana, 2000;Dellinger et al., 2016;Masilan and Neethiselvan, 2018;Araya-Schmidt et al., 2019). There have been studies quantifying bait used per catch (Harnish and Willison, 2009), and evaluating economic viability of using alternative baits, e.g., green crab (St-Hilaire et al., 2016) and cunner (Hewitt, 2018) in Atlantic Canada’s lobster ﬁsheries. However, there is still much to learn about the eﬀectiveness and sustainability of alternative baits in lobster ﬁshery and the number of studies on this topic is very limited. A more sustainable and environmentally friendly bait has been developed by Bait Masters Inc., to replace the traditional bait used in PEI’s lobster ﬁshery. This alternative bait is made from a mixture of fresh and processed pelagic ﬁsh, contained in an organic biodegradable casing. The amount of fresh pelagic ﬁsh required in the alternative bait corresponds to one-quarter of that used in traditional bait. In the present work, we evaluated the eﬀectiveness, in terms of catch-per-unit-eﬀort (CPUE; deﬁned as total lobsters and legal- sized lobsters caught per trap) and catchability, of an alternative bait compared to the traditional bait, using data collected from a ﬁeld trial carried out in PEI during the spring and fall of 2019 lobster ﬁshing seasons. MATERIALS AND METHODS Alternative Bait Composition Alternative bait used in this study is made from a mixture of 25% fresh and 50% processed pelagic ﬁsh (mackerel and/or herring), 10% dehydrated ﬁsh, and 15% oil and binder, contained in an organic biodegradable casing. This plant-based case is mainly made from banana peels. The bait disintegration time (i.e., period of time from when the bait is ﬁrst put in water to its complete disintegration) has been observed to be, on average, 5 days in seawater, while the traditional bait lasts for one to 2 days (M. Prevost, Personal communication, September 23, 2020). Study Area The Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence region, PEI, consists of ﬁve lobster ﬁshing areas (LFAs): 23, 24, 25, 26A, and 26B (Figure 1), based on the deﬁnition by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2014a). LFAs 24 and 26A have spring lobster ﬁshing season, which runs from May until the end of June, while LFA 25 is ﬁshed in the fall lobster ﬁshing season and is active from mid-August until mid-October (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2014b). Study Design and Data Collection Field trials were carried out in eight bays from three LFAs around PEI (i.e., 24, 25, and 26A), representing both northern and southern coasts of the province; the latter includes the Northumberland Strait (Figure 1). To account for variations in ﬁshing experience, weather conditions, and day-to-day variations, lobster traps were deployed from 12 commercial ﬁshing boats over six consecutive ﬁshing days, during the spring and fall of 2019 PEI lobster ﬁshing seasons. A single boat was used in each bay, with the exception of Nine Mile Creek bay, in which ﬁve boats were used. For each boat, six “sites” were randomly selected based on feasibility to deploy lobster traps (Figure 1). Six lobster traps were tied in a longline to form a “trap set.” Two trap sets, each using the same type of bait (traditional or alternative baits), were deployed per site, 30 – 90 meters apart, to ensure other conditions (such as lobster abundance and hydrodynamic conditions, etc.) associated with CPUE and catchability, were similar for both trap sets. At the sites where it was not feasible to place a pair of trap sets, a single trap set with the same number of traps of each bait type (three to six, depending on the site) was used and the bait order in that trap set was alternated between traditional and alternative baits. An equal amount of bait was used in all lobster traps from the same pair of trap sets to account for eﬀect of bait quantity on CPUE and catchability. Lobster traps were set daily (from Monday to Saturday) in each “site.” The traps were retrieved the following day, except for those set on Saturdays (which were retrieved 2 days later) or whenever the weather was not permitting. Upon the trap retrieval, lobsters were removed from the trap, measured and counted, and those that met legally harvest requirements were kept, while the rest were released. Data related to the total number of lobsters caught (categorized into legal-sized vs. restricted, and gender), type of bait, ﬁshing boat, bay, trap number, date of trap set, date of catch, and water temperature were collected. The restricted lobster refers to the lobster that did not meet the size restrictions, softshell lobsters, or egg-bearing females. The number of legal-sized lobsters caught was available and further broken down into number of male and female lobsters caught. The number of restricted lobsters caught was also recorded; however, information on gender of restricted lobsters was not recorded. The total lobsters caught per trap was calculated as the sum of the numbers of legal and restricted lobsters. The duration of the trap in the water (“immersion time”) refers to period of time from deploying to retrieving a trap. It was later categorized into the duration of one and more than 1 day. It was expected that the number of lobsters caught increased with the duration that the trap stayed in the water, and, therefore, this variable was accounted for in the multivariable analysis. Data Analysis Statistical analyses were performed using Stata (Release 16.1; StataCorp, 2019). A descriptive analysis was carried out to summarize the data. Mean and 95% conﬁdence intervals, Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 2October 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 589549 fmars-07-589549 October 18, 2020 Time: 19:6 # 3 Patanasatienkul et al. Effectiveness of Alternative Lobster Bait FIGURE 1 | Map of the study area: Lobster Fishing Areas (24, 25, 26A, and 26B) in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada; black dots represent the location of wharves for each of the study bays. Data source: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (2014a); Map created using the open source QGIS. adjusting for bay clustering eﬀect, were computed for the count data for traditional and alternative baits. Eﬀectiveness of lobster bait was determined as (1) the catch-per-unit eﬀort (CPUE), and (2) catchability. CPUE was measured by the total lobsters caught per trap, and the number of legal-sized lobsters caught per trap. Catchability was deﬁned as the ability to produce a catch (i.e., at least one lobster caught). The eﬀectiveness of the two bait types was evaluated using multivariable regression analysis, which was carried out separately for the spring and fall lobster ﬁshing seasons. Considering the overdispersion of data, we used negative binomial regression to evaluate the eﬀect of each lobster bait on the numbers of total lobsters, and legal-sized lobsters caught per trap. The baits’ ability to produce a catch (catchability) was assessed using logistic regression analysis. Bait type, bay, and immersion time were included in the analyses as ﬁxed-eﬀects. An interaction between bay and bait type was also included in the model to assess potential diﬀerences in the eﬀect of bait on CPUE across diﬀerent bays. These multivariable analyses also accounted for between-day variation of CPUE and catchability for each boat. We grouped boat and date of trap set into a new variable (“boat-date”) and included it as a random-eﬀect in the analyses. Water temperature data were missing from over half of the observations and therefore were not included in the analyses. Model assumptions were tested and residual diagnoses were performed (Dohoo et al., 2009). Akaike’s information criterion (AIC) was used to assess the ﬁt of alternate models (Burnham, 2002). RESULTS Descriptive Analysis Mean and 95% conﬁdence interval, adjusting for the bay clustering eﬀect, of the number of lobsters caught per trap, proportion of male and female lobsters, and proportion of non-empty traps by bait type are presented in Table 1. A total of 4,252 traps were set to capture lobsters on PEI waters during the spring and fall of 2019 lobster ﬁshing seasons. The majority of traps (73%) were set in the spring and 28% in the fall lobster ﬁshing season (Supplementary Table S1). The number of traps set were distributed equally between the traditional and alternative baits (Table 1). On average, a trap captured around ﬁve lobsters, with six percent of the catch being discarded due to size restrictions, shell condition, or reproductive status (i.e., bearing eggs). Approximately 70% of the legal-sized lobsters caught by each trap were male and 90% of the traps caught at least one lobster at the time of retrieval (Table 1). The average number of lobsters per trap caught by both alternative, and traditional baits were 3 (SD 2) for spring and 10 (SD 6) for fall lobster ﬁshing seasons (data not shown). Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 3October 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 589549 fmars-07-589549 October 18, 2020 Time: 19:6 # 4 Patanasatienkul et al. Effectiveness of Alternative Lobster Bait TABLE 1 | Number of traps (n), mean and 95% conﬁdence intervals adjusting for bay clustering for number of lobsters caught per trap and the proportions of legal-sized, and male lobsters per trap, and overall proportion of non-empty traps by bait type. Traditional bait Alternative bait Variables n Mean (95% CI) n Mean (95% CI) Legal-sized lobsters 2,127 5 (1,8)2,125 5 (1,8) Total lobsters 2,127 5 (2,8)2,125 5 (2,8) Male lobsters 1,855 3 (1,4)1,848 3 (1,4) Female lobsters 1,855 2 (0,3)1,848 2 (0,4) Proportion of legal-sized lobsters 1,924 0.94 (0.91,0.98)1,863 0.94 (0.89,0.99) Proportion of male lobsters 1,634 0.69 (0.50,0.89)1,569 0.67 (0.47,0.88) Proportion of non-empty traps 2,127 0.90 (0.78,1.00)2,125 0.88 (0.73,1.00) Multivariable Regression Model Results from the multivariable regression model, evaluating the eﬀectiveness of lobster baits, while accounting for immersion time and boat-date are presented in Table 2. The interaction eﬀect between bait and bay are presented in Figure 2. Since the outputs for legal-sized lobsters and the total lobsters caught per trap were similar, only the results for the latter are presented. The total number of lobsters caught per trap using the alternative bait was not signiﬁcantly diﬀerent from that obtained using the traditional bait in all bays (Figure 2). Additionally, the probability of producing a catch was not signiﬁcantly diﬀerent between the two bait types in any of the studied bays (Supplementary Figure S1). DISCUSSION This study represents the ﬁrst ﬁeld trial to evaluate the performance of an alternative bait in the commercial capture of lobsters in PEI. Our results indicate that the ability to produce a catch (catchability) of traditional and alternative baits was not diﬀerent in all studied bays. The two bait types also yielded a similar CPUE in these bays. Although our study design controlled for the eﬀect of bait quantity and the analysis adjusted for immersion time and spatial variation, we could not account for bait loss due to other factors such as predation and disintegration. The amount of bait used per trap has been shown to be correlated with the number of lobsters caught in Maine, the United States, and Nova Scotia, Canada (Saila et al., 2002;Harnish and Willison, 2009). However, it is challenging to quantify the amount of bait loss to other factors in a ﬁeld setting. For this reason, this was not accounted for in the analyses but could potentially have aﬀected the number of lobsters caught. Under ﬁeld conditions, disintegration time of this alternative bait has been observed to be longer than that of the traditional bait, depending on hydrodynamic conditions (M. Prevost and W. MacPhee, Personal communication, July 27, 2020); however, this observation has not been statistically tested. The number of lobsters caught was higher during the fall than in the spring lobster ﬁshing season. This same pattern was also observed in Nova Scotia by Harnish and Willison (2009). TABLE 2 | Coefﬁcients (β), 95% conﬁdence intervals, and p-values for the effect of bait type, after accounting for other factors, on the number of lobsters caught per trap using negative binomial multivariable regression analyses for spring and fall of 2019 lobster ﬁshing seasons. Spring Fall Variable β95% CI p-value β95% CI p-value Bait Traditional (Reference) Alternative 0.25 [0.47, 0.03] 0.03 0.05 [0.02, 0.11] 0.16 Bays – <0.01 – <0.01 Bay ×Baita<0.01 – <0.01 Immersion timeb 1 day (Reference) >1 day 0.14 [0.01, 0.28] 0.04 0.20 [0.01, 0.41] 0.06 Constant 0.06 [0.15, 0.27] 0.56 2.71 [2.54, 2.88] <0.01 Ln(Alpha) 3.36 [3.89, 2.82] 3.25 [3.53, 2.97] Random effect Boat-date: variance (SE) 0.02 (0.01) Note that the analyses were done separately for spring and fall seasons. aDetails on interaction term (Bay ×Bait) are presented in Figure 2.brefers to period of time from deploying to retrieving a trap. Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 4October 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 589549 fmars-07-589549 October 18, 2020 Time: 19:6 # 5 Patanasatienkul et al. Effectiveness of Alternative Lobster Bait FIGURE 2 | Predicted number of total lobsters caught per trap with 95% conﬁdence intervals, using traditional and alternative baits in the studied bays in spring and fall of 2019 lobster ﬁshing seasons in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Note that the analyses were done separately for spring (green) and fall seasons (brown). Gray dashed lines separate different lobster ﬁshing areas (LFAs). However, this temporal variation in the number of lobsters caught may be a result of seasonal geographical diﬀerences, given that the ﬁshing activity in the fall lobster ﬁshing season occurs only in LFA 25. The water depth in the Northumberland Strait tends to be shallower than that of other areas around PEI (den Heyer et al., 2009;Obert and Brown, 2011). Lobsters tend to migrate from shallow waters to the north of PEI before and during winter to avoid ice at the sea bottom. They later return to warmer waters in the Northumberland Strait when the ice melts in the spring and do not move much from summer to winter (Comeau and Hanson, 2018). This may explain the larger number of lobsters caught in LFA 25 that occurred during the fall lobster ﬁshing season. While the two types of bait performed equally well, the alternative bait requires considerably less fresh forage ﬁsh in its composition. As the sustainability of traditional bait is at risk, DFO has imposed limitations on bait-species ﬁshing quotas (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2020b,c). For this reason, the development of eﬃcient alternative baits is of paramount importance to lobster ﬁshery. In addition, it would help reduce ﬁnancial burden, arising from labor and time dedicated to ﬁshing bait-species, while creating job opportunities in parallel bait-producing industries. However, the lobster ﬁshing community is traditionally reluctant to adopt alternative bait products out of fear of income loss due to ineﬀective baits. New alternative baits should be properly evaluated in real ﬁeld conditions, and their eﬀectiveness supported by robust data to promote their widespread use. Similar studies in other LFAs would provide further evidence on the eﬀectiveness of this or other alternative bait products. Results from such studies could provide assurance to the lobster ﬁshing community and motivate them to use these baits, thus, allowing the industry to address the bait-species shortage and ongoing conservation challenge. When conducting ﬁeld trials to evaluate the eﬀectiveness of lobster bait, potential spatial variation needs to be considered. The spatial diﬀerence in bait eﬀectiveness may be linked to environmental factors, such as water temperature or bathymetry. The fact that lobsters rely on their olfactory system to detect and move toward food source (Derby and Atema, 1982;Devine and Atema, 1982;Moore et al., 1991;Lees et al., 2018), and that solubility of the solid substance (e.g., lobster bait) diﬀers between colder and warmer temperature (Lu et al., 2020) may explain the spatial diﬀerence in the bait eﬀectiveness. The characteristics (i.e., composition and disintegration time) of the alternative bait studied help reduce the amount of fresh pelagic ﬁsh used and save bait-related costs. It is expected that ﬁshermen would reduce their bait cost by 60–80%, saving approximately$4.95–13.20 CAD for each kg of bait used (M.
Prevost and W. MacPhee, Personal communication, September
22, 2020). However, no formal studies have been conducted to
Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 5October 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 589549
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Patanasatienkul et al. Effectiveness of Alternative Lobster Bait
assess the ﬁnancial implications of type of bait used, therefore,
a more in-depth analysis should be performed to evaluate the
cost and beneﬁts of alternative bait over traditional bait usage on
lobster ﬁshing.
CONCLUSION
Our study indicates that the alternative bait is a viable
replacement for traditional bait. Further studies could be
performed to evaluate the cost-eﬀectiveness of the use of this
alternative bait and quantify the reduction in forage ﬁsh use for
bait production.
DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT
made available by the authors, upon reasonable request, without
undue reservation.
AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS
KT designed the study and Bait Masters Inc. helped to
conduct the ﬁeld trial and data collection. TP, MD, and KT
carried out the data management and statistical analyses. TP
and MD wrote the ﬁrst draft of the manuscript. All authors
contributed to manuscript revision, read, and approved the
submitted version.
FUNDING
Springboard Atlantic Inc. and National Research Council
Industrial Research Assistance Program funded the design of ﬁeld
trial and analysis of the ﬁeld trial data, Department of Fisheries
and Oceans Canada funded the alternative bait development and
ﬁeld trial implementation.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We would like to thank John McKinnon and Brendan Hansen
for their assistance in data recording, and all the ﬁshers who
participated in the ﬁeld trial. We want to extend our gratitude to
the editor and the two reviewers for their feedback, which helped
improve this manuscript.
SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL
online at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.
2020.589549/full#supplementary-material
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(CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided
the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original
publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academicpractice. No
use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with theseterms.
Frontiers in Marine Science | www.frontiersin.org 7October 2020 | Volume 7 | Article 589549
... The formal search for repellants and replacement baits to: (1) lessen the reliance on declining bait stocks, (2) increase catch rates of targeted species, or (3) reduce bycatch have a long history extending back for over a century (e.g., Bateson, 1890;Januma et al., 1999;Jones, 1992;Lokkeborg et al., 2010). Most recent efforts have, however, generally concentrated on the last objective (e.g., Patanasatienkul et al., 2020;Southwood et al., 2008;Swimmer et al., 2005), and results have been mixed. Two recent extensive analyses (Kumar et al., 2016;Gilman et al., 2020) demonstrated the complexity of the situation. ...
Chapter
All fish behaviors have their basis in the receipt and processing of sensory information. Finely tuned receptors for and responses to sensory stimuli evolved over millennia, but since the Industrial Revolution, the cuescape of stimuli available to fishes is now changing at a pace faster than the evolution of sensory systems. We therefore posit that sustainable fisheries management requires understanding and predicting the effects of anthropogenic changes on fish populations via: knowing which stimuli are available to fish sensory systems, how the stimuli interact with the morphological structures of relevant neurosensory organs, how physiological performance of a specific neurosensory system transduces the stimuli into actionable information, and most importantly, how all of this is changing in the Anthropocene. Conservation physiologists have successfully applied sensory information and a host of technologies to alternately attract and deter fishes as needed, reduce bycatch, control invasive species, and improve aquaculture. This chapter briefly summarizes the biotic and abiotic stimuli available to fishes, elucidates how fish sensory systems transduce relevant cues from the environment into actionable information, and demonstrates how sensory knowledge has been and can be used to address applied issues in fisheries management. Lastly, this chapter closes with a synthesis of available information to identify a framework for successful applications of sensory-based strategies and to suggest promising new directions for future research that optimize the utility of fish sensory systems as a management tool.
... Fisheries targeting high-value species-including crustaceans Patanasatienkul et al., 2020;Naimullah et al., 2020), bony fishes (Gomes et al., 2014;Tangke et al., 2018), gastropods (Coston--Guarini et al., 2018), and cephalopod molluscs (Bañón et al., 2018;Vasconcelos et al., 2019;Azahari et al., 2020)-are captured using various trap designs. These devices can or may be combined with other forms of passive gear (for example, long wires and gillnets), and the behaviour of the target species plays a major role in the selection of the devices to be used. ...
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Management strategies for trap fisheries in the Taiwan Strait (TS) lack crucial information such as factors determining the catch rates and bycatch species as well as the effect of the soaking time (SKT) of traps. Therefore, we investigated logbook and voyage data recorder data from Taiwanese crab and fish trap vessels (2011–2016). The crab traps were distributed widely in the TS, whereas the fish traps were mostly used in the northeast and southwest of the TS. Hierarchical cluster analysis revealed that the TS could be divided into the Northern Taiwan Strait, where most fishers use crab traps to target Portunus sanguinolentus, P. pelagicus, and Charybdis feriatus; Kuroshio Current, with large catches of Dentex hypselosomus using fish traps; and Taiwan Bank, with large catches of Evynnis cardinalis and other species using both traps. The optimal target species catch rates were achieved for a SKT of 48 h, regardless of the trap type. The bycatch rates were found to be higher when the SKT was longer than 48 h for crab traps, whereas the bycatch rates for fish traps were unaffected by the SKT. These findings may aid the implementation of sustainable trap fishing through harvest strategy planning, spatiotemporal management, and bycatch reduction.
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Atlantic mackerel or Amalamaq ( Scomber scombrus ) has been subject to diverse fishing pressures in Atlantic Canada for commercial, bait, recreational, and Indigenous food-social-ceremonial (FSC) fisheries, resulting in its substantial social and cultural significance in the region. Recent stock declines have led to closures of the commercial and bait mackerel fisheries, while recreational and FSC harvesters retain respectively the ability or right to fish. Here we assess the human dimensions of the recreational mackerel fishery through administration of a voluntary questionnaire shared at wharfs and through online/social media channels. A total of 285 responses were received, with results providing a rich picture of this poorly-engaged stakeholder community. The operational dimensions of this fishery and benefits derived from recreational fishing are explored. While recommendations for conservation and management measures were not solicited explicitly, many respondents shared comments and suggestions regarding management of the stock. Engaging more actively with recreational mackerel anglers may allow for enhanced assessments of the fishery and foster local stewardship toward more effective fisheries management.
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Commercial harvesting of snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) in the Barents Sea started in 2012 by Norwegian fishing vessels. This new fishery has significant bait requirements, representing an emerging conservation challenge. In this study, we evaluate the performance of five alternative (natural) baits manufactured from the waste stream of existing and sustainably managed harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus) and minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) capture. Five different types of new bait were evaluated, including seal fat (SF), seal fat with skin (SFS), seal meat with bone (SMB), whale fat with skin (WFS), and whale meat with fat (WMF). A comparative fishing experiment was conducted onboard a commercial snow crab fishing vessel in the Barents Sea (May-June, 2016) to evaluate the performance of traditional bait (squid, Illexs spp.) and alternative baits at catching snow crabs. Performance of the different baits were compared on the basis of the number of commercial crab caught per trap haul catch per unit effort (CPUE) and carapace width (CW). Our results showed that SF and SFS performed equally well to traditional bait, with no statistical difference in CPUE (p-value ¼ 0.325 and 0.069, respectively). All of the other experimental baits significantly decreased CPUE, when compared to squid. No significant effect of bait treatment on CW was detected and the cumulative distribution of CW was the same between control traps and each of the bait treatments. Overall the results indicated that SF and SFS represent a viable alternative to replace traditional bait, addressing a key conservation challenge in this bait intensive snow crab fishery.
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Background Catch per unit effort is a cost-effective index of abundance and fishing effort, and an integral part of many fisheries stock assessments. Trap fisheries data are often generated using non-standardised methodology and the information to improve the accuracy of estimates is not always available due to current ecological knowledge gaps. Despite its economic importance, the European lobster Homarus gammarus has been relatively understudied compared to the closely related H. americanus. Previous studies investigating behaviour of Homarus spp. in relation to bait sources have been undertaken in aquariums or mesocosms rather than on free-ranging lobsters in the field. This study uses fine-scale acoustic telemetry data, and a null model approach to investigate free-ranging H. gammarus behaviour and movement in relation to baited commercial traps. Results The distribution of lobsters n=11\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$${\textit{n}} = 11$$\end{document} was largely similar in the presence and absence of traps. The time spent within 20 m of a trap ranged from 3 min to 16 h 55 min (n=27\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$${\textit{n}} = 27$$\end{document}), and the distance at which lobsters began approaching a trap varied considerably (5.40 m to 125 m, n=22\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$${\textit{n}} = 22$$\end{document}); the mean distances were larger than calculated by previous studies. A fifth of trap approaches resulted in movement against the current indicating a potential olfactory response to a bait plume. A pre-existing non-random association with a trap location may increase the time spent near the trap and reduce the minimum distance between the lobster and the trap. Conclusions This is the first study to assess the movement patterns of free-ranging H. gammarus in relation to a bait source. The larger approach distances in this study were likely due to the unrestricted ranging behaviour of the tagged lobsters. Aquarium and mesocosm studies provide greater experimental control, but may restrict movement and underestimate the area of bait influence. The use of null models to infer movement patterns of free-ranging lobsters has many advantages over aquarium-based studies. These include better highlighting of individual variability in behaviour, and the potential to elucidate the effects of bait plumes on catchability. Wider application of this approach can be used to improve estimates of catch and stock assessments.
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The Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Canada is experimenting with a commercial fishery on the European green crab (Carcinus maenas), an invasive species in North America, to help reduce the negative impact this animal has on ecosystems and native shellfish populations. We determined the break-even price that fishers would require for green crabs under different fishing scenarios (i.e. different gear and catch per trap per day). We also determined, for a 21 day season, the minimum catch per trap per day for fishermen to break even at market prices of $0.50/lb,$1/lb, and \$3.50/lb. Several scenarios were profitable, but our results suggest the price of crab (dockside) would have to be sufficiently high to motivate fishers to continue the fishing pressure needed to reduce populations of this invasive species. The most economically profitable scenario was a fyke net by-catch fishery, similar to what currently exists on Prince Edward Island during the eel fishing season.
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Crustaceans, such as crab and lobster, comprise an important global food commodity. They are captured in traps using primarily forage fish (e.g. anchovies, herring, and menhaden), as bait. Approximately 18 million tons of these fish are used annually to bait traps, worldwide (U. Nations, 2014). In addition to natural predators dependent on forage fish (Pikitch et al., 2012), myriad other factors are further intensifying demand and collectively threatening stocks (e.g. Omega-3 supplements, pet food, livestock feed,–in addition to direct human consumption). Forage fish capture methods pose collateral environmental risks from by-catch (e.g. seals, dolphins, turtles) indiscriminately killed in nets. Sustainable alternatives to stem further depletion are desperately needed, and toward this end, a synthetic crustacean bait has been developed. The technology mimics molecules released from forage fish by employing a formulation that is dispersed at a controlled rate from a soluble matrix. The synthetic bait reliably caught stone crab, blue crab, and American lobster in field trials. This technology addresses major ecological threats, while providing economic and operational benefits to the crustacean fishing industry. One Sentence Summary: A synthetic crustacean bait has been developed to obviate the need for forage fish capture and depletion.
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The behaviour of lobsters preying on live mussels (Mytilus edulis) was observed before and after chemosensory or chemosensory-mechanosensory deafferentation of different sensory appendages. Deafferentation of the antennules, leg tips, or maxillipeds (but not the carapace or proximal leg segments) interfered with feeding performance by causing an increase in the time necessary to crush a mussel after search initiation. In addition, deaf-ferentation of the leg tips or the maxillipeds caused a decline in number of mussels crushed but for different reasons: leg-treated lobsters walked over the mussels without picking them up, whereas maxilliped-treated lobsters grasped the mussels as usual but either did not crush or did not eat them as readily as did normal lobsters. Deafferentation of leg chemoreceptors resulted in the same behavioural deficiencies as deafferentation of leg chemo-and mechanoreceptors, demonstrating that it is the leg chemoreceptors that are essential in releasing this grasping response. Chemoreceptors on different appendages of lobsters therefore fulfill different functional roles in their feeding behaviour.
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The lobster,Homarus americanus, relies upon its lateral antennules to make initial directional choices in a turbulent odor plume. To determine whether chemical signals provide cues for source direction and distance during orientation, we studied the search patterns of the lobster orienting within a turbulent odor plume. In an odor plume, animals walked significantly more slowly and most often up the middle of the tank; control animals (no odor present) walked rapidly in straight lines, frequently along a wall. Search patterns were not stereotyped either for the population of experimental animals or for individuals. Three different phases of orientation were evident: an initial stage during which the animals increased their walking speeds and decreased their heading angles; an intermediate stage where both the walking speed and headings were constant; and the final stage close to the source, where heading angles increased while walking speed decreased. During this last stage the animals appear to be switching from a distance orientation (mediated by the antennules) to a local food search (mediated by the walking legs) as evidenced by a great increase in leg-raking behavior.
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Three of the lobster's main chemoreceptor organs, the lateral and medial antennules (representing smell) and the dactylus-propodus segments of the walking legs (representing taste), are physiologically quite similar. The authors examined their role in spatial orientation in a food-odor stimulus field. Control animals almost always oriented correctly and immediately to an odor plume. Lobsters with unilateral ablations of lateral antennules lost this ability, but did not show preferential turning toward the intact side. Unilateral medial antennule ablation did not affect orientation. Removal of all aesthetasc hairs from one lateral antennule caused loss of orientation ability less severe than unilateral ablation of the entire lateral antennule. Lobsters with unilaterally ablated lateral antennules and blocked walking leg receptors turned preferentially toward the side of the intact antennule. Thus, it appears that intact lobsters orient in odor space by tropotaxis principally using aesthetasc receptor input. Since loss of appendages is relatively common in lobsters, this partial overlap of organ function may serve the animal well in nature.
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The American lobster (Homarus americanus) population in southern Gulf of St. Lawrence has long been subjected to high exploitation, and yet its population is currently at a high and increasing abundance level. The lobster fishery management is based on effort-control, with a short season, mandatory release of egg-bearing females, and strict enforcement of regulations. Another important factor is the high survival of lobster returned to the water. The combination of a minimum legal size limit and either an upper size limit for females or an effective size limit due to entrance-ring size on the traps has resulted in a slot fishery after which the larger, most fecund animals have low vulnerability to the fishery. These efforts to protect large individuals have had a positive effect on lobster larval production, which may lead to even higher adult population numbers. Comparisons with the management of snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) quota-based fisheries were made to try to explain the different trajectories that these three species’ populations have taken since the 1960s.
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Ice ridges impacts are a major design consideration for offshore structures in the Arctic. Consequently, field programs on the frequency and characteristics of ridges can provide valuable empirical information for the design of future offshore structures. The Confederation Bridge ice force monitoring program monitors ice ridge keels through sonar instrumentation at the bridge. A total of 3199 keel cross-sections were identified during the 2007 and 2008 ice seasons using a new processing method. Of the 3199 keels identified, 137 keels caused loads over 1MN. The shape of each keel was visually identified and classified as one of four shapes: triangular, trapezoidal, w-shaped, and multiple peak keels. Triangular and trapezoidal keels made up more than 60% of the keels that cause loads over 1MN. Four of the five largest loads had keels that were trapezoidal. For the 3199 keel cross-sections, the depth, width, leading and trailing keel angles, bottom width and area were identified and distributions of these keel properties were developed. The distribution was then compared to the design keel depth distribution from the Confederation Bridge. The observed 2007 and 2008 keel depth distributions was slightly lower than the design distribution likely due to the significant number of multiple peak and w-shaped keels. Additionally, the maximum keel depth suggested by the observed distribution was shallower than the maximum predicted keel depth.
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The potential role of lobster trap bait as a significant food subsidy contributing to unprecedented recent increases in abundance and landings of the American lobster Homarus americanus is seldom considered seriously outside the fishing community. Although bait input is a very small source of organic carbon compared with primary production, the yearly input of bait per unit area to the inshore waters of the Gulf of Maine is about 85 kg/ha, an amount equal to a very productive fishery yield from a marine area. Because much of the bait is imported from outside the inshore area of the Gulf of Maine, it represents a direct subsidy to secondary production within this portion of the system. An empirical relationship between fish yield and primary production in phytoplankton-based marine systems suggests that inshore primary production would have to be increased by about 80% to provide an increment in fish yield equal to the bait input. Moreover, a simple trophic calculation based on an estimated amount of bait consumed in traps and the growth efficiency of juvenile American lobsters also shows that the bait could potentially support one-quarter to one-third of the recent American lobster landings from the inshore area of the Gulf. This preliminary assessment suggests that lobster bait may make a substantial contribution to American lobster production—a contribution that, if confirmed, should be further examined and carefully considered in future American lobster management.