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Benthic community response to a scallop dredging closure within a dynamic seabed habitat

Benthic community response to a scallop dredging closure within a dynamic seabed habitat
Benthic community response to a scallop dredging closure within a dynamic seabed habitat
Fishing with bottom towed gear is widely considered an invasive form of fishing in terms of its impacts upon seabed habitats and fauna. Fishery closures or marine protected areas provide baseline conditions against which to assess the response to the removal of fishing disturbance and thus shed light on their use as fisheries management tools. We conducted repeat underwater camera surveys inside a recently established area that is permanently closed to scallop fishing and a seasonally fished area in Cardigan Bay, UK, to test for differences in scallop abundance and epibenthic community structure and to examine recovery processes over a 23 mo study period. Changes in scallop density and epifaunal diversity and community composition were primarily driven by seasonal fluctuations; no differences were found between the permanently closed area and the seasonally fished area. Temporal changes in epibenthic community inside the permanently closed area were not related to recovery processes associated with the cessation of scallop dredging. Sediment composition and bedforms shifted between surveys, suggesting that this community is exposed to a dynamic environment. It is likely that scallop dredging at the present levels of fishing may be insufficient to induce changes large enough to be detected in the presence of strong natural disturbance. We highlight the importance of considering the physical nature and dynamics of the environment and the nature of the species concerned throughout the process of designating closed areas, to avoid negative impacts on fisheries and limited conservation benefits.
Marine protected area · Fishery closure · Scallop dredging · Fishing impact · Epifauna · Natural disturbance · Underwater digital imagery · Side scan sonar
83-98
Sciberras, M.
9a7b1189-b1ca-4c95-b768-0c38eb125b79
Hinz, H.
d8574e9e-48d5-4fc5-9c08-e2e16b91320f
Bennell, J.D.
bce00a23-99a2-4c35-91ab-cf62e9e84b38
Jenkins, S.R.
f160f172-4162-4e5b-bf70-9048d9e7ec8d
Hawkins, S.J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Kaiser, M.J.
383e3d13-5a6b-41af-b414-5643526dd321
Sciberras, M.
9a7b1189-b1ca-4c95-b768-0c38eb125b79
Hinz, H.
d8574e9e-48d5-4fc5-9c08-e2e16b91320f
Bennell, J.D.
bce00a23-99a2-4c35-91ab-cf62e9e84b38
Jenkins, S.R.
f160f172-4162-4e5b-bf70-9048d9e7ec8d
Hawkins, S.J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Kaiser, M.J.
383e3d13-5a6b-41af-b414-5643526dd321

Sciberras, M., Hinz, H., Bennell, J.D., Jenkins, S.R., Hawkins, S.J. and Kaiser, M.J. (2013) Benthic community response to a scallop dredging closure within a dynamic seabed habitat. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 480, 83-98. (doi:10.3354/meps10198).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Fishing with bottom towed gear is widely considered an invasive form of fishing in terms of its impacts upon seabed habitats and fauna. Fishery closures or marine protected areas provide baseline conditions against which to assess the response to the removal of fishing disturbance and thus shed light on their use as fisheries management tools. We conducted repeat underwater camera surveys inside a recently established area that is permanently closed to scallop fishing and a seasonally fished area in Cardigan Bay, UK, to test for differences in scallop abundance and epibenthic community structure and to examine recovery processes over a 23 mo study period. Changes in scallop density and epifaunal diversity and community composition were primarily driven by seasonal fluctuations; no differences were found between the permanently closed area and the seasonally fished area. Temporal changes in epibenthic community inside the permanently closed area were not related to recovery processes associated with the cessation of scallop dredging. Sediment composition and bedforms shifted between surveys, suggesting that this community is exposed to a dynamic environment. It is likely that scallop dredging at the present levels of fishing may be insufficient to induce changes large enough to be detected in the presence of strong natural disturbance. We highlight the importance of considering the physical nature and dynamics of the environment and the nature of the species concerned throughout the process of designating closed areas, to avoid negative impacts on fisheries and limited conservation benefits.

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More information

Published date: 22 April 2013
Keywords: Marine protected area · Fishery closure · Scallop dredging · Fishing impact · Epifauna · Natural disturbance · Underwater digital imagery · Side scan sonar
Organisations: Ocean Biochemistry & Ecosystems

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 352954
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/352954
PURE UUID: 7f648121-bf42-4005-bf00-20410f1bc11c

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 21 May 2013 15:26
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 04:09

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