Beam Trawl - Shrimp beam trawl

Alternative names

  • Inshore beam trawl

Summary

The beam trawl used to target brown shrimp is much lighter than that use to target flat fish in the North Sea. It also uses small mesh netting that leaves it prone to high levels of by-catch of benthic organisms.

Diagram of a beam trawl net as used for shrimp

Environmental impact

The Shrimp beam trawls are much lighter than their flat fish counterparts. They are also confined to specific areas where shrimp are known to be in abundance.  These are often areas where there are few other fish that could be caught as a by catch. They are often used in shallow water but in these areas the seabed is quite mobile due to wind and tides. This will minimise any seabed impact from the gear. To retain the shrimps this gear has to use small mesh netting. This is liable to catch and retail high quantities of fish by-catch. To minimise this in most areas  the shrimp beam trawls have to have to be fitted with either a 'veil' or a inclined grid to direct any  fish by-catch out of the net very soon after it enters the trawl. This keeps discards to a minimum.

Other information

The gear used in this fishery is much lighter than the traditional beam trawls and constructed entirely of small sized mesh. The footrope has small rolling bobbin wheels fitted to I to help the net travel over the seabed without damage.

With the small mesh netting the gear can be prone to high degree of fish by-catch, to reduce this by-catch in most areas this gear has to be fitted with either a 'veil' or an inclined grid to guide the fish out of the trawl but retain the shrimp.

There is also a move to introduce electric fishing for shrimp but this does not seem to be getting the negative press that the pulse beam does. This may be due to the much lower electric power used.

Gear classification

Main target species (UK)

  • Brown Shrimp

Possible bycatch

  • Any demersal species