Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 517–544 | Cite as

Selectivity of fishing gears used in the Baltic Sea cod fishery

Research Paper


The Baltic cod (Gadus morhua) plays a very significant role in the Baltic Sea ecosystem being the major fish top predator and the most important commercial species for the Baltic Sea fishing industry. Consequently the management and understanding of the exploitation pattern of the stock is of major importance. Technical regulations, improving the selectivity of cod, have been a major management strategy and the Baltic Sea is likely to be the area where most fishing gear selectivity studies, focussing on size selectivity, have been conducted over time. The methodology for conducting and analysing selectivity data has been significantly improved in recent years. The subject is reviewed since the choice of methodology can have a significant effect on the interpretation of the outcome of selectivity experiments. Factors affecting the selectivity of trawl and gill nets are considered. Alternative ways to improve the size and species selectivity of trawls using selective devices are reviewed. Selectivity parameters from available literature are listed and the correlations of selectivity parameters to the mesh size for different gears are estimated. The historical legislation on selectivity is reviewed and the expected selectivity for trawls is estimated. Management considerations concerning the mortality of escaping and discarded fish and wider management impacts have to be considered if improving selectivity. The review is ended by conclusions including reflections on needed research in the future.


Baltic Sea Baltic Cod Mesh selectivity Trawl Gill net Gadus morhua 



This work was carried out with funds to the TEMAS project sponsored by the Directorate for Food, Fisheries and Agri Business. Thanks are due to colleagues for comments and discussions, particularly Mariana Horsten and Bo Lundgren and to Vesa Tscernij for use of a drawing (Fig. 1), anonymous referees and the editor for very useful comments.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Danish Institute for Fisheries ResearchTechnical University of Denmark, The North Sea CentreHirtshalsDenmark

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