Selective fishing for sustainable use of marine ecosystems

Last changed: 02 March 2023
Fishing boat

Fishers and fishery managers can contribute to the recovery of weak fish stocks and reduce the amount of unwanted catches by using selective fishing techniques.

Selective fishing enables a fishing operation to avoid catching non-target species or limiting species (choke species) in mixed fishery. Successful selective fishing requires that the stock is above safe limits, that fishing targets are achieved and that the fishery is economically sound and socially acceptable.

Selective fishing methods should be evaluated in terms of broader environmental effects, and should be viewed as a part of the toolbox for sustainable management of marine ecosystems.

  • Selective methods are either species- and/or size-selective.
  • Species selection should reduce impact on non-target species.
  • Size-selective fishing can be used to optimally harvest fish stocks in order to reduce impacts on marine ecosystems.

Science-industry collaboration in gear development

The Department of Aquatic Resources has established and leads the Swedish Secretariat for Selectiv Fishing, om behalf of The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management. The aim of the Secretariat is to gather new ideas from fishers and other industry stakeholders on how to fish more selectively. Ideas are developed in cooperation with scientist, and the new gears evaluated scientifically.

Read more about the Swedish Secretariat for Selective Fishing >>

Gear development - case studies and report

Grid trawl fishing of Norway lobster >>

Projects accomplished by the Selective Fisheries Secretariat 2014-2017: a synthesis report Aqua reports 2018:13

Slideshow - The Ocean Conference 2017


Hans C. Nilsson, Researcher
Department of Aquatic Resources, Institute of Marine Research, SLU , +46 10 478 40 40

Daniel Valentinsson, Researcher
Department of Aquatic Resources, Institute of Marine Research, SLU, +46 10 478 40 49