Kaiser, M.J., Hill, A.S., Ramsay, K., Spencer, B.E., Brand, A.R., Veale, L.O., Prudden, K., Rees, E.I.S., Munday, B.W., Ball, B. and Hawkins, S.J.
Benthic disturbance by fishing gear in the Irish Sea: a comparison of beam trawling and scallop dredging
Aquatic Conservation Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 6, (4), . (doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-0755(199612)6:4<269::AID-AQC202>3.0.CO;2-C).
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1.?The distribution of effort for the most frequently used mobile demersal gears in the Irish Sea was examined and their potential to disturb different benthic communities calculated. Fishing effort data, expressed as the number of days fished, was collated for all fleets operating in the Irish Sea in 1994. For each gear, the percentage of the seabed swept by those parts of the gear that penetrate the seabed was calculated.
2.? For all gears, the majority of fishing effort was concentrated in the northern Irish Sea. Effort was concentrated in three main locations: on the muddy sediments between Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man (otter and Nephrops trawling); off the north Wales, Lancashire and Cumbrian coast (beam trawling); the area surrounding the Isle of Man (scallop dredging).
3.?In some areas, e.g. between Anglesey and the Isle of Man, the use of scallop dredges and beam trawls was coincident. A comparative experimental study revealed that scallop dredges caught much less by-catch than beam trawls. Multivariate analysis revealed that both gears modified the benthic community in a similar manner, causing a reduction in the abundance of most epifaunal species.
4.? Although beam trawling disturbed the greatest area of seabed in 1994, the majority of effort occurred on grounds which supported communities that are exposed to high levels of natural disturbance. Scallop dredging, Nephrops and otter trawling were concentrated in areas that either have long-lived or poorly studied communities. The latter highlights the need for more detailed knowledge of the distribution of sublittoral communities that are vulnerable to fishing disturbance. ©British Crown Copyright 1996.
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