Humans have been harvesting fish for at least 90,000 years using technologies that have developed from simple harpoons through to huge factory trawlers. For most of this history, the driving force behind developments in fishing technology has been to develop methods that catch ever-greater quantities of fish of an ever-increasing diversity. This theme changed dramatically dur- ing the last few decades in the light of one of the world’s most serious and controversial fishing issues – the waste associated with the incidental capture, mortality and discarding of unwanted by-catch. In response to these by-catch issues, the field of fishing technology altered its focus to one where fishing techniques are developed to be selective in what they catch, so that targeted species (and targeted sizes of species) are caught whilst unwanted by-catches are not. In more recent times, this field has expanded even further, to address problems associated with fishing gears (especially dredges and trawls) impact- ing on the benthos and seabed ecosystems.
This focus on by-catch reduction and ecosystem-effects of fishing has resulted in many successful changes in fishing practices which are estimated to be conserving millions of fish and other organisms throughout the world. These successes have occurred in many types of fisheries and have improved many of the world’s most non-selective and problematic fishing techniques. This book provides, in one volume, a timely aggregation of many of these developments in this relatively new field. Incorporating a plethora of case- studies, this book summarises, analyses and provides future directions for most aspects of this field including: the methodologies used; the key locations where the work has been done; the various fishing methods examined (particu- larly the most problematic methods); and the all-important methods used to ensure the uptake of newly developed techniques by fishers.
The publication of this book marks a very successful period of achievement by the world’s by-catch reduction specialists and gear technologists in amelio- rating some of the most critical problems facing the world’s fisheries. It also provides templates for how to continue this work and how to broaden the les- sons learned to address other emerging fisheries issues.