UK Commercial Market for cuttlefish egg receptors

Ciocan, C. (Consultant), Katherine Nelson (Consultant), Daniel Davies (Consultant)

Activity: Consultancy

Description

Cuttlefish are an important species for commercial fisheries across Europe. They are caught using various fishing methods including trawls, nets and traps. In the English Channel, cuttlefish overwinter in deep water in the western Channel and move inshore in the spring to breed. They only live for two years. They breed once and then die. When they move inshore in the spring to breed, the cuttlefish are targeted by fishers using nets and traps. Whilst the trap fishery is sustainable in that it has low levels of bycatch and high levels of selectivity with low levels of damage to seabed habitats (compared to other fishing methods such as towed gear), the main concern is that cuttlefish lay their eggs on the traps. These eggs are subsequently lost when the traps are cleaned. Egg receptors added to the traps would be beneficial to increase the number of eggs which are returned to the sea to hatch. Lengths of polypropylene rope have been successfully trialled as egg receptors, but this introduces plastic into the marine environment. The use of an agar derived bio-plastic polymer would have all the advantages of the egg receptor without the detrimental impacts of plastic.
The aims of this report were:
1. Assess if there is a commercial market for new fishing traps or adaption to traps within the cuttlefish industry
2. Assess the routes to market for the product that will improve sustainability of cuttlefish stocks
Period1 Jul 2018 - 31 Oct 2018
Degree of RecognitionNational

Keywords

  • cuttlefish eggs
  • route to market
  • sustainable fisheries