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Summary

Differences in size selectivity of commercial (40 mm diamond mesh, 40D), larger mesh (48 mm diamond mesh, 48D), and square mesh codends (40 mm square mesh, 40S) for hake (Merluccius merluccius), greater forkbeard (Phycis blennoides), blackbelly rosefish (Helicolenus dactylopterus dactylopterus) and four-spot megrim (Lepidorhombus boscii) were investigated in the Aegean Sea. The study was conducted using the covered codend method. Data were analysed taking between-haul variations into account. Results showed that changing from a 40D to 48D codend significantly improved mean L50 values, with increases of about 22% for hake, 8% for greater forkbeard, 20% for blackbelly rosefish, and 11% for four-spot megrim (P = 0.000). A change from diamond to square mesh configuration with the same 40 mm netting also significantly increased the mean L50 values, with 45% for hake, 36% for greater forkbeard, and 25% for blackbelly rosefish (P = 0.000). For four-spot megrim the mean L50 value was about 10% lower, but this difference was statistically insignificant (P > 0.05). Despite the increases in L50 values, this study concludes that the selectivity of the 48D and 40S codends is still not sufficient to release fish smaller than length at first maturity for these four species.