ABSTRACT The selectivity characteristics of 4 juvenile fish escape panel designs and their utility for the regulation of a multi-species demersal trap fishery were evaluated using a suite of objective socio-economic and biological criteria. The panel designs consisted of a control (type A) which had a hexagonal mesh size which was the same as that of the body of the trap (3.5 cm), a rectangular mesh (type B) which was representative of the current regulation (5.0 x 7.6 cm) and 2 escape panels with square meshes of 7.5 x 7.5 cm (type C) and 10.0 x 10.0 cm (type D). The results demonstrated that there was only a limited reduction in the proportion of juvenile fish and by-catch retained for the existing juvenile escape panel design (type B). Furthermore, as the selectivity characteristics for the key species (Epinephelus coioides and Diagramma pictum) were similar to the control type, the predicted increases in yields, revenues and spawning stock biomass were small by comparison. The escape panel with the largest mesh size (type D) retained the least un-utilized and discarded by-catch. Whilst simulations predicted the highest spawner biomass per recruit, long term yields and revenues for the key species, its use was associated with a dramatic short-term decline in revenues which were 23.3% of the value of the control type. Traps fitted with the type C which had a square mesh of 7.5 x 7.5 cm had the lowest juvenile retention and the highest overall score for all the assessment criteria combined. The study provides an empirical basis for gear regulations for the demersal trap fishery of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the wider Arabian Gulf region.
Cite this paper
E. Grandcourt, T. Al Abdessalaam, S. Hartmann, A. Al Shamsi and F. Francis, "An Evaluation of the Selectivity Characteristics of Different Juvenile Fish Escape Panel Designs for the Demersal Trap Fishery of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates," Open Journal of Marine Science, Vol. 1 No. 3, 2011, pp. 98-107. doi: 10.4236/ojms.2011.13010.
 E. M. Grandcourt, “Fish and Fisheries,” In: T. Z. Al Abdessalaam, Ed., Marine Environment and Resources of Abu Dhabi, Motivate Publishing, Dubai, 2008, pp. 200- 225.
 J. Stewart, “By-Catch Reduction in Wiremesh Fish Traps,” In: S. J. Ken-nelly, Ed., By-Catch Reduction in the Worlds Fisheries, Springer, Berlin, 2007, pp. 75-93.
 M. Beech, T. Z. Al Abdessalaam and J. Hoolihan, “Marine Fish,” In: P. Hellyer and S. Aspinal, Eds., The Emirates―A Natural History, Tri-dent Press, London, 2005, pp 261-281.
 M. Samuel, C. P. Mathews and A. S. Bawazeer, “Age and Validation of Age from Otoliths for Warm Water Fishes from the Arabian Gulf,” In: R. C. Summerfelt and G. E. Hall, Eds., Age and Growth of Fish, IOWA State University Press, Oxford, 1987, pp. 253-265.
 M. S. M. Siddeek, M. M. Fouda and G. V. Her-mosa Jr., “Demersal Fisheries of the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Gulf,” Estuarine and Coastal Shelf Science, Vol. 49, 1999, pp. 87-97.
 E. M. Grandcourt, T. Z. Al Abdessalaam, F. Francis and A. T. Al Shamsi, “Biology and Stock Assessment of the Sparids, Acanthopagrus Bifasciatus and Argyrops spinifer (Forssk?l, 1775), in the Southern Ara-bian Gulf,” Fisheries Research, Vol. 69, No. 1, 2004, pp. 7-20.
 E. M. Grandcourt, T. Z. Al Abdessalaam, F. Francis and A. T. Al Shamsi, “Population Biology and Assessment of the Orange-Spotted Grouper, Epi-nephelus Coioides (Ha- milton, 1822), in the Southern Arabian Gulf,” Fisheries Research, Vol. 74, No. 1, 2005, pp. 55-68.
 Z. Sary, H. A. Oxenford and J. D. Woodley, “Effects of an Increase in Trap Mesh Size on an Overexploited Coral Reef Ffishery at Discovery Bay, Jamaica,” Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 154, No. 1, 1997, pp. 107-120.
 J. Stewart and D. J. Ferrell, “Escape Panels to Reduce by-Catch in the New South Wales demersal Trap Fishery,” Marine and Freshwater Research, Vol. 53, No. 8, 2002, pp. 1179-1188. doi:10.1071/MF02062
 H. Al Masroori, H. Al Oufi, J. McIlwain and E. McLean, “Catches of Lost Fish Traps (ghost fishing) from Fishing Grounds near Muscat, Sultanate of Oman,” Fisheries Research, Vol. 69, No. 3, 2004, pp. 407-414.
 F. C. Gayanilo Jr. and D. Pauly, “FAO-ICLARM Stock Assessment Tools. Reference manual. ICLARM International Centre for Living Aquatic Re-sources Management," Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, Rome, 1997, p. 262.
 E. M. Grand-court, T. Z. Al Abdessalaam, A. T. Al Shamsi and F. Francis, “Biology and Assessment of the Painted Sweetlips (Diagramma pictum (Thunberg, 1792)) and Spangled Emperor (Lethrinus nebulosus (Forssk?l, 1775)) in the Southern Arabian Gulf,” Fisheries Bulletin, Vol. 104, No. 1, 2006, pp. 75-88.
 R. J. H. Beverton and S. J. Holt, “On the Dynamics of Exploited Fish Populations,” Chapman and Hall, London, 1957, p. 533
 J. Stewart and D. J. Ferrell, “Mesh Selectivity in the NSW Demersal Trap Fishery,” Fisheries Research, Vol. 59, No. 3, 2003, pp. 379-392.
 D. L. Sutherland, J. A. Bohnsack, D. E. Harper, C. M. Holt, M. W. Hulsbeck and D. B. McClellan, “Preliminary report. Reef Fish Size and Species Selectivity by Wire Fish Traps in South Florida Waters,” Proceedings of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, Vol. 40, 1991, pp. 25-108.
 R. Mahon and W. Hunte, “Trap Mesh Selectivity and the Management of Reef Fishes,” Fish and Fisheries, Vol. 2, No. 4, 2001, pp. 356-375.
 E. M. Grandcourt, T. Z. Al Abdessalaam and F. Francis, “Population Biology and Assessment of Representatives of the Family Carangidae; Ca-rangoides Bajad and Gnathanodon Speciosus (Forssk?l, 1775), in the Southern Arabian Gulf,” Fisheries Research, Vol. 69, No. 3, 2004, pp. 331-341. doi:10.1016/S0165-7836(04)00141-9
 M. J. Sanders and G. R. Morgan, “Review of the Fisheries Resources of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” FAO Fisheries Technical Report, Vol. 304, 1989, p. 138.
 E. M. Grandcourt, T. Z. Al Abdessalaam, F. Francis, A. T. Al Shamsi and S. A. Hartmann, “Reproductive Biology and Implications for Management of the Orange-Spotted Grouper, Epinephelus Coioides (Hamilton, 1822), in the southern Arabian Gulf,” Journal of Fish Biology, Vol. 74, 2009, pp. 820-841.
 A. S. Bawazeer, “The Fishery Management of the Stock of Chim, the Giant Sea Catfish Arius Thalassinus in Kuwait Waters,” Kuwait Bulletin of Marine Science, Vol. 9, 1987, pp. 87-100.
 E. M. Grandcourt, T. Z. Al Abdessalaam and F. Francis, “Age, Growth, Mortality and Reproduction of the Black- Spot Snap-per, Lutjanus Fulviflamma (Forsskal, 1775) in the Southern Arabian Gulf,” Fisheries Research, Vol. 78, No. 2-3, 2006, pp. 203-210.