Fishing gear ratios are the best way to measure the quality of fish caught and processed, according to research from researchers at Harvard University.
Fishing gear has become a huge part of a sustainable fishery, but the ratio of gear to fish is the key indicator of fish quality.
The Fish Business Research Institute (FBSI) surveyed a group of fisherman in the United States and the United Kingdom to determine the importance of gear ratios and how the ratio might be affected by fishing gear.
In an online survey, participants answered questions such as, “I buy my fish from an independent fish supplier, what percentage of that fish is gear?” and “How important is the gear ratio to my decision to buy fish from the same supplier?”
FBSIs findings indicated that gear ratios affect the quality and quantity of fish purchased from the market.
“Fish gear ratios indicate the value of fish in the catch relative to its value in the environment,” the researchers wrote.
One of the primary factors determining the quality or quantity of a fish is its size, weight, and fin density.
When fish have the same fin density, the fish is of equal value to the market and therefore worth the same price.
Fishing gear ratios vary by size of fish.
For example, smaller fish have a lower gear ratio than larger fish.
But larger fish can be caught with better gear ratios because of their larger size.
Fish that are bigger than the average size can be more valuable because of the high density of the fish, the researchers noted.
But when gear ratios of fish are lower, it can mean that the quality, quantity, and size of the catch are better, and the fish can still be caught, according the FBSI.
As a result, gear ratios can affect the value and quality of a fishery.
When gear ratios for trout are low, the catch of a given fish is better than the market value of the same fish, according research by the FTSI.
When gear ratios rise, it means that the value per fish is lower than the value in terms of the market price of the stock.
Fish caught with gear ratios that are higher than the industry average have a better quality, but fish caught with ratios lower than that have lower value than their market value, according a recent study by the U.K. fisheries authority.
Fish stocks can also be affected if gear ratios fluctuate during the season.
A fish can have higher gear ratios when it is in a high water state and when it gets wet during the dry season, when fish are able to stay afloat and produce more fish, or when fish catch a higher number of fish during the same season, the FFSI said.
While the research is important, it is not conclusive enough to recommend gear ratios to all fishers, according Toomas Haskonen, a fisheries economist at the Finnish Research Institute of Marine Research and one of the researchers.
Because the research has only been done for trout, it will not be able to predict the overall impact of gear on fish quality and quality, he said.
But, “if gear ratios fall, then fish quality will suffer, which could result in fish stocks falling and the value for the catch falling.”
Haskonen noted that the research only focuses on fish caught at one particular time of year, and that gear changes could affect the catch as well.
It is difficult to predict when gear changes will affect fish quality or quality of the whole fishery because it depends on many factors, such as the fish size, how fast the fish are catching, how often they are caught, and whether or not the fish caught are being used, according Hasken.
To make sure that gear is not affected, the fisherman should check the gear ratios regularly and look for signs of gear problems, such a low gear ratio or a high gear ratio, the fisheries authority said.