This report presents the results of the cod monitoring program 2016. The research was commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs within the EZ-program Beleidsondersteunend Onderzoek. Cod catches of the vessels in the fleet segments BT2 (beam trawl and pulse trawl) and TR (otter trawls and seines) need to be monitored yearly, due to the Dutch implementation of the European cod recovery plan. The European cod recovery plan restricts the fishing effort of European fleets catching cod. Fishing effort, based on historical track records, is allocated to different gear groups. Fishing effort can be transferred between gear groups by use of conversion factors. In the Netherlands fishing effort is transferred yearly from the BT2 gear group to the TR group, based on a national conversion factor of 1:3 (BT:TR) kWdays instead of the European conversion factor of 1:16. This is because the cod catches in the Dutch TR fleet are not as high as the European conversion factor implies. In order to substantiate for the national conversion factor, the Dutch government is obliged to report cod catches per unit of effort (CpUE) of the vessels in these gear groups to the European Commission. An overview is provided of the fishing activity, the cod landings and the cod landings per unit of effort of the various gear categories in the BT2 and the TR fleet segments during the year 2016. First the cod Catch per Unit of Effort (CpUE) transition ratio between the BT2 on the one hand and the TR1C plus TR2 fleet segments on the other hand was calculated. And secondly the percentage of cod avoidance trips – trips during which 5% or less cod was caught – in the TR-fleet were calculated. The TR fleet has a higher cod CpUE on average than the BT fleet. When the cod targeted fisheries (TR1AB) are not taken into account, the CpUE effort transition ratio (TR1C+TR2): BT2 of 2016 lies between 4.2:1 and 5.7:1, depending on whether the ratio is calculated on the basis of minimum or maximum cod discards estimation by the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) respectively whereby in the minimum calculation the vessels participating in the CCTV program are excluded. Based on average discards estimations including all vessels, the ratio is 5.1:1. The percentage of cod avoidance trips, fishing trips with 5% cod or less in the total catches, in the TR1C and the TR2 fleets were 94% and 96% in 2016 respectively. These percentages are based on average STECF cod discards estimations. When minimum or maximum discards estimations are used, the calculated percentages of cod avoidance trips does not vary more than 2 or 3% from the percentage based on average estimations.
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