The present status of some of the fish stocks in North Sea and Baltic shows them to be outside safe biological limits. Reasons for this lie partly in hydrographic and ecological changes not in favour for a constant supply of fresh recruits to the fishery every year. On the other hand, fishery has its share in the observed downward trend by growth overfishing and reducing the size and number of possible spawners. The only mean available for the fishery management to restore a fish stock composed of several year classes is to apply technical measures as e.g.closures in space and time or fishing gear regulations. The breakdown of the historical measure “mesh size regulation in diamond mesh trawls” due to technological progress has created a wave of worldwide research. It has focused on trawl codends where the meshes are held artificially in their most open shape or by introducing into the trawl metal structures able to separate small from big fish or fish from crayfish. A parallel development of a scientifically objective mesh measuring instrument will help to enforce the new regulations. However, longer use of some of the new designs has revealed some deficiencies. Other innovative designs or the concept of certified codends will hopefully ensure the permanently better selectivity of contemporary trawl codends.

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