Baited fish traps 

Sampling the fish fauna of rough bottoms is a difficult task and conventional fishing gears like trawls and sledges are most of the time inappropriate and destructive. Fish traps are an interesting alternative which allows obtaining valuable voucher specimens for Te Papa collections. They also help identifying specimens seen on the videos. The fish section has designed fish traps to be used for those objectives and has recently implemented them successfully around White Island in the Bay of Plenty.

We designed two models of traps. The first are circular in shape. They are 170 cm in diameter, weighting each about 120 kg. This weight is needed to sink them as quickly as possible to the bottom where they will start fishing. The second fish trap design is bigger, more complex and rectangular in shape. It incorporates a ‘second chamber’ where the fish can migrate. If trapped in the second chamber, the fish escape rate strongly decreases.

Building fish traps is always a compromise: you need entrance so that the fish can move inside the traps, but these entrances must be designed in such to minimize escape rate. Very often, like here, entrance will have a funnel shape.

Read more about our fieldwork on White Island.

Types of fish traps used by Te Papa staff

Circular fish trapCircular 

Rectangular multi-chamber fish trap

Rectangular multi-chambered

Mixed species collected from one of the deployments

Mixed species collected from one of the deployments.