French Exploitation of the Deep-Water Fisheries of the North Atlantic
French commercial fishermen have been engaged in a deep-water fishery for blue ling (Molva dypterygia) since 1973, and in the early days the roundnose grenadier (Coryphaenoides rupestris) was considered a by-catch species. As a consequence of the decline in catches of the more traditional gadoid species on the continental shelf, increased effort from 1989 onwards, has been directed at the slope fisheries in the north east Atlantic . Today there are commercial catches of blue ling, roundnose grenadier, orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus), black scabbard fish (Aphanopus carbo) and Portuguese sharks (mainly Centroscymnus coelolepis). The fishing vessels engaged in this fishery range from 24 m. to 60 m. in length and 500 kw. to 2000 kw. in power.
Much work needs to be done on the biology of the slope species, but so far in France only blue ling, grenadier and orange roughy have been studied in any detail. Time series of growth, ageing and yield per area have been started but the data is still too incomplete to make a proper analysis. There is a general concern that trawling on the slope for these species will be a high ecological risk to the benthic communities and the coral formations. It is also a fishery directed at virgin stock, and these could quickly become over-exploited.
KeywordsContinental Shelf Target Species Commercial Catch Orange Roughy High Ecological Risk
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