Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) catch weight estimated with a trawl-mounted echosounder during fishing
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionFisheries Management and Ecology. 2023, . 10.1111/fme.12625
Reporting reliable catch weight estimates is important for all fisheries management. This study explores the potential for precise and direct estimation of catch weight (green weight) for the Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) fishery by employing a high frequency acoustic sensor in the trawl. Trials were performed off the coast of the South Orkney Islands during February 2020 using a scientific macroplankton trawl and echosounder providing a 18° beam pointing downwards across the fishing circle at the trawl mouth. The acoustically estimated catch weight and the observed catch weight had a linear relationship (R2 = 0.87, F(1,10) = 69.6, p < 0.000) where the acoustically estimated catch weight significantly predicted actual catch weight (β = 1.20, p = 0.000). The acoustic vertical densities of krill increased toward the center of the trawl opening suggesting that krill were herded during fishing. The current study demonstrates that acoustically based catch weight monitoring has the potential to be used for reporting total krill catch weight in each trawl, potentially in real-time, and that similar methods could also be employed in similar types of trawl fisheries.