Commercial trawl fishing gear

Trawlers are allowed to tow more than 1 otter trawl or beam trawl. However, there are restrictions on how much net and the type of net that may be used – these restrictions differ in different parts of Queensland.

There are 2 types of trawl gear - beam and otter - and they are both used to take prawns. The main difference is in how they keep the net open.

Beam trawl

The beam trawl is generally used in the shallow inshore waters or lower estuaries. In Queensland, only about 5% of the trawl harvest is taken by beam trawling each year.

The net is attached to 2 'sleds' connected by a rigid pole, or beam, that holds the net open for fishing.

Otter trawl

The otter trawl net has chains hung below the footrope to disturb the prawns as the net is towed along the seabed, making them jump into the mouth of the oncoming net.

Each end of the net is attached to an otter board. The sheer force of water on the angled board forces each board sideways until the net is spread and held open.

Stout whiting are caught using modified otter trawl nets that have long (about 120m) sweeps. Sweeps are long extensions in front of the net that 'herd' the whiting towards the mouth. In Queensland, only 5 operators are permitted to use these nets.

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