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Sample device used to investigate krill escapement through trawl meshes. The cage is mounted at an angle to the beam to simulate the tapering of a trawl and a video camera in its cage can be seen attached to the left side of the beam.  
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Net Escapement of Antarctic krill in Trawls (NEAT, Research project - HAVKYST)

The pelagic trawlers involved in the Antarctic krill harvest apply different trawl systems and there are many unknown parameters on which to estimate their catch efficiency. 

In the present fishery, most vessels apply fine-meshed trawl panels, but still no net or trawl design guidelines describing the basis selective properties for krill in different mesh shapes and sizes, exist. Increased knowledge on estimates on net escapement and mortality rates will have profound importance for a rational management of the Antarctic krill fishery and CCAMLR strongly recommends members that are fishing for krill to investigate the effects of different fishing gear on escape mortality. During recent years, Norway has become the nation with the largest landings of Antarctic krill.

This is a three year project (2012-2015) funded by the Norwegian Research Council were we will perform morphology based mathematical modeling (FISHSELECT) of different krill sex and maturity groups. The FISHSELECT method has previously been used to describe and predict size selection of fish and other crustaceans. The methodology will be used to describe and predict the selection process of Antarctic krill in towed fishing gear and to predict the basic selective characteristics of different netting designs on different krill population structures.

The results will be used to quantify the theoretic catch efficiency and escape mortality in different nets and to construct a net configuration with optimal mesh size and shape in order to minimize escape mortality. Finally, will we construct design guides which describe the basis selective properties for krill in different mesh shapes and sizes. Such information is valuable both for managers and for the industry exploiting the resource.

Project partners

The Institute of Marine Research
The Technical University of Denmark
Aker BioMarine ASA 

What is an ecosystem?

Ecosystems are often described in terms of energy transfer between levels of the food chain. Behind the energy transfer, however, a life or death struggle between predators and prey is taking place. This struggle, in which every individual tries to make the most of itself by spreading its genes, results in what we call the “interplay of nature”. This interplay is fascinating, both as a field of study and as a management problem.

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