Quad rigged fishing gear is one of a number of fishing gears which may be used in the fishery targeting nephrops (prawns). Twin rigged trawls have been practised by Irish fishermen for decades in both whitefish and nephrops fisheries. The advantage of a twin-rigged trawl over a single trawl of equivalent dimensions is that it allows a similar area of seabed to be covered while reducing the drag of the gear and consequently the power required to tow it. Over the last 2 to 3 years quad rigged trawls have widely replaced twin rigged trawls in the Irish Nephrops fishery. The principal reason the quad rig is being adopted so widely and so quickly appears to be that it allows fishermen to catch their Nephrops quota more efficiently than the twin rig. Some industry members have expressed concerns about the use of this gear and its impact on the nephrops fishery.
The matter has been considered by the Irish Fisheries Science Research Partnership (IFSRP) which comprises industry representatives, the Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) at its March meeting. BIM has included quad rig trials as part of its work programme for 2014, which I understand have been undertaken. When the work on the quad rig trials is completed, BIM will summarise current knowledge on this gear to inform a discussion at the IFSRP. I will consider the views of the IFSRP on the use of this gear in the nephrops fishery and any recommendations received.