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Effects of long-term physical disturbance by commercial scallop fishing on subtidal epifaunal assemblages and habitats

Effects of long-term physical disturbance by commercial scallop fishing on subtidal epifaunal assemblages and habitats
Effects of long-term physical disturbance by commercial scallop fishing on subtidal epifaunal assemblages and habitats
This paper examines spatial differences in the distribution of by-catch assemblages from the scallop [Pecten maximus (L.) and Aequipecten opercularis (L.)] fishing grounds in the North Irish Sea, during 1995. The sites examined have been exposed to differing known levels of fishing disturbance by scallop dredging, based on unusually high-resolution data extracted from fishermens' logbooks. Uni- and multi-variate techniques have been used on a production dataset (a value which incorporates both abundance and biomass figures), as well as abundance and biomass data individually. The original species list was reduced to higher taxonomic groupings in line with the theory that the latter is more appropriate for detecting anthropogenic change. Species diversity and richness, total number of species, and total number of individuals all decrease significantly with increasing fishing effort. Species dominance increases with effort. Total abundance, biomass and production, and the production of most of the major individual taxa investigated decrease significantly with increasing effort. Multivariate analysis reveals a significant relationship between fishing effort and by-catch assemblage structure. The taxa most responsible for the differences are the echinoids and cnidarians, but prosobranch molluscs and crustaceans also contribute to the differences. By-catch assemblage structure is more closely related to fishing effort than any other environmental parameter investigated, including depth and sediment type. We observed an approximately linear decrease in diversity with increasing fishing disturbance, and suggest this is primarily due to selective removal of sensitive species and, more importantly, habitat homogenisation. These results were interpreted in the light of ecological theories relating disturbance to community structure. The argument that invertebrate scavenger populations benefit from prolonged exposure to fishing disturbance was also examined, but no supporting evidence was found.
0025-3162
325-337
Veale, L.O.
2f4cf451-3f84-4890-bdd2-3f321f0d09ca
Hill, A.S..
83c2adca-8f5f-443e-a56c-37a60ee63f29
Hawkins, S.J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Brand, A.R.
f9b98a51-4101-40a0-990c-3f5ed19d4c8d
Veale, L.O.
2f4cf451-3f84-4890-bdd2-3f321f0d09ca
Hill, A.S..
83c2adca-8f5f-443e-a56c-37a60ee63f29
Hawkins, S.J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Brand, A.R.
f9b98a51-4101-40a0-990c-3f5ed19d4c8d

Veale, L.O., Hill, A.S.., Hawkins, S.J. and Brand, A.R. (2000) Effects of long-term physical disturbance by commercial scallop fishing on subtidal epifaunal assemblages and habitats. Marine Biology, 137 (2), 325-337. (doi:10.1007/s002270000357).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This paper examines spatial differences in the distribution of by-catch assemblages from the scallop [Pecten maximus (L.) and Aequipecten opercularis (L.)] fishing grounds in the North Irish Sea, during 1995. The sites examined have been exposed to differing known levels of fishing disturbance by scallop dredging, based on unusually high-resolution data extracted from fishermens' logbooks. Uni- and multi-variate techniques have been used on a production dataset (a value which incorporates both abundance and biomass figures), as well as abundance and biomass data individually. The original species list was reduced to higher taxonomic groupings in line with the theory that the latter is more appropriate for detecting anthropogenic change. Species diversity and richness, total number of species, and total number of individuals all decrease significantly with increasing fishing effort. Species dominance increases with effort. Total abundance, biomass and production, and the production of most of the major individual taxa investigated decrease significantly with increasing effort. Multivariate analysis reveals a significant relationship between fishing effort and by-catch assemblage structure. The taxa most responsible for the differences are the echinoids and cnidarians, but prosobranch molluscs and crustaceans also contribute to the differences. By-catch assemblage structure is more closely related to fishing effort than any other environmental parameter investigated, including depth and sediment type. We observed an approximately linear decrease in diversity with increasing fishing disturbance, and suggest this is primarily due to selective removal of sensitive species and, more importantly, habitat homogenisation. These results were interpreted in the light of ecological theories relating disturbance to community structure. The argument that invertebrate scavenger populations benefit from prolonged exposure to fishing disturbance was also examined, but no supporting evidence was found.

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More information

Published date: 2000

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 188543
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/188543
ISSN: 0025-3162
PURE UUID: bfe022e5-7a34-4b8b-b589-be1b83b48d42

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 25 May 2011 12:45
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:42

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