Aquat. Living Resour.
Volume 36, 2023
Topical Issue - NORA 4 - Native Oyster Restoration Alliance 4th Conference
|Number of page(s)
|30 August 2023
Experimental estimation of ladder dredge efficiency for capture of European flat oysters over mixed sediment
School of Life Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO43SQ, UK
2 Natural England, County Hall, Spetchley Road, Worcester, WR52NP, UK
3 Present address: Marine Management Organisation, Lancaster House, Hampshire Court, Newcastle upon Tyne NE47YH, UK
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Handling Editor: Pauline Kamermans
Accepted: 20 July 2023
Fishing gear-based landings or survey methods are often used to make assessments of species stock abundance. In order to convert catch into abundance values, estimates or assumptions are made on the catch efficiency of the gear-based method. This is the case in areas where flat oysters, Ostrea edulis, are surveyed for fisheries and conservation objectives in a range of projects across Europe. Flat oyster dredge efficiency assumptions vary widely from 5–30% in published studies and uncertainty in what is an appropriate efficiency estimate has led some survey teams to switch to Catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE), where CPUE is also of concern should catch efficiency change with shellfish density, ground type or some other unmeasured variable such as shellfish distribution. We undertook an experimental approach to estimate dredge efficiency in a standard ladder dredge used to harvest and survey adult flat oysters in the UK and Ireland. The dredge efficiency trials assessed how efficiency was influenced by oyster density (between 1 and 2.2 oysters m2), distribution (clumped vs uniform) and ground types across a gradient of more hard to more soft surface sediments. Dredge efficiency was significantly affected by oyster distribution, but also density and ground hardness as well as their interactions. While a median value between 7 and 10% seems an appropriate universal ladder dredge efficiency to adopt, ground type and distribution had such an effect that local conditions may effect this considerably. Catch efficiency was negatively density-dependent, this makes CPUE methods challenging where oyster densities are likely to vary. Practitioners, regulators and researchers conducting surveys can improve CPUE approaches through standard techniques and knowledge of how catch efficiency varies as we have presented here.
Key words: Oyster / catch-per-unit-effort / dredge efficiency / Fisheries / uncertainty / density-dependence
© T.C. Cameron et al., Published by EDP Sciences 2023
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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