Overview of bycatch reduction devices

Trawl nets used in commercial fishing catch a wide variety of unwanted species (bycatch). Common bycatch species include:

  • certain fish
  • crustaceans
  • molluscs
  • sponges
  • stingrays and sharks.

Legislation and mandatory use of bycatch reduction devices (BRDs)

The legislation governing the use of BRDs in Queensland's east coast trawl fishery is the Fisheries (East Coast Trawl) Management Plan. For commercial fishers operating in this fishery, at least 1 compliant BRD is mandatory.

In order to comply with the BRD use requirement in legislation fishers must choose from approved BRD types when fishing with prawn nets in certain areas of the fishery. However, when using scallop nets, only a scallop square mesh codend is approved for use as a BRD.

Fishery area Approved BRD options
Northern area (north of 16 degrees) Square mesh codend (northern area); fisheye; bigeye; square mesh panel; v-cut with bell codend
Central area (16-22 degrees) Square mesh codend (central area); fisheye; bigeye
Shallow area (outside of the northern, central and deepwater net area) Square mesh codend (shallow area); fisheye; bigeye; square mesh panel; v-cut with bell codend
Deepwater net area Square mesh codend (deepwater net area); fisheye; bigeye; square mesh panel
Scallop nets (anywhere) Scallop square mesh codend

Note: Turtle excluder devices (TEDs) are also mandatory in all otter trawl nets and some beam trawl nets.

Finding the most effective BRDs

A number of different BRDs can be used to exclude bycatch. Each BRD functions differently and each has different features which help to exclude different types of bycatch species. The commercial fishing industry is working with government to research the most efficient BRDs to use on trawlers. As a result of recent scientific research Fisheries Queensland has mandated the use of fisheye, square mesh codend or bigeye BRDs in the red spot king prawn sector and square mesh codend BRDs in the scallop sector.

Fisheries Queensland's research shows that different combinations of BRDs are required for different fisheries. In other words, 1 BRD type is not always suitable for all sectors.

BRDs in Queensland - case study video

Find out how BRDs contribute to sustainable trawl fishing in Queensland. This video explains recent advances in BRDs and how BRDs can benefit your business.

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