Effect of closed areas on populations of sea star Asterias spp. on Georges Bank

  • Published source details Marino M., Juanes F. & Stokesbury K. (2007) Effect of closed areas on populations of sea star Asterias spp. on Georges Bank. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 347, 39-49.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Cease or prohibit all towed (mobile) fishing gear

Action Link
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
  1. Cease or prohibit all towed (mobile) fishing gear

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2000–2003 in sites of soft seabed on Georges Bank, North Atlantic Ocean, east of Massachusetts, USA (Marino II et al. 2007) found that there were more starfish Asterias spp. in areas closed to towed fishing for five to nine years compared to adjacent fished areas, but there was no difference in starfish arm length. Across all years, starfish abundance was higher in the closed areas (0.1–0.6 starfish/m2), compared to the fished areas (0.0–0.3 starfish/m2). However, the average arm length of starfish was similar in the closed (20–73 mm) and the fished areas (20–42) and varied between years. In 1994, three areas (17,000 km2 in total) of Georges Bank (located 13–150 m depth) were closed to towed fishing gear. Portions of the closed areas were re-opened from 1999–2001 for a short-term limited fishery. Between 1999 and 2003, video surveys were undertaken within each closed area and in three areas of Georges Bank opened to fishing. A total of 3,209 stations were video-surveyed, and four 2.8 m2 video-quadrats/station assessed. All Asteria spp. starfish (>2 cm diameter) were counted and their arm lengths measured.

    (Summarised by: Anaëlle Lemasson)

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