Study

Effects of chronic bottom fishing on the benthic epifauna and diets of demersal fishes on northern Georges Bank

  • Published source details Smith B., Collie J. & Lengyel N. (2013) Effects of chronic bottom fishing on the benthic epifauna and diets of demersal fishes on northern Georges Bank. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 472, 199-217.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Cease or prohibit commercial fishing

Action Link
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

Cease or prohibit all towed (mobile) fishing gear

Action Link
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
  1. Cease or prohibit commercial fishing

    A site comparison study in 2004–2008 in two areas of gravelly and sandy seabed on Georges Bank, northwest Atlantic Ocean, USA (Smith et al. 2013) found that an area closed to certain commercial fishing had a higher biomass of invertebrates attached to the seabed (epifaunal), but not a higher total abundance or species richness, compared to a fished area, 10–14 years after closure. Epifaunal biomass was significantly higher in the closed area (33–109 g/L) compared to the fished area (26–57 g/L). Total epifauna abundance was similar in closed (6–15 individuals/L) and fished areas (6–10 individuals/L). The effect of closing commercial fishing on species richness varied with years, but overall across year species richness was similar in both areas (closed: 26–39; fished: 32–41 species). An area on Georges Bank was closed to all commercial fishing gear capable of retaining ground fish (trawls, scallop dredges, gill nets and hook gear) in December 1994. Annually in 2004–2008, one site in the closed area and one site in an adjacent fished area were surveyed at 45–55 m depth. Epifauna were collected using a dredge (2–3 samples/site/year; 6.4 mm mesh liner), identified, counted, and wet-weighed.

    (Summarised by: Anaëlle Lemasson & Laura Pettit)

  2. Cease or prohibit all towed (mobile) fishing gear

    A site comparison study in 2004–2008 in two areas of gravelly and sandy seabed on Georges Bank, northwest Atlantic Ocean, USA (Smith et al. 2013) found that, 10–14 years after closure, an area closed to commercial towed fishing gear had a higher biomass of invertebrates attached to the seabed (epifauna), but not a higher total abundance or species richness, compared to a fished area. Epifauna biomass was significantly higher in the closed area (33–109 g/L) compared to the fished area (26–57 g/L). Total epifauna abundance was similar in closed (6–15 individuals/L) and fished areas (6–10 individuals/L). The effect of closing commercial fishing on species richness varied with years, but overall across year species richness was similar in both areas (closed: 26–39 species; fished: 32–41 species). An area on Georges Bank was closed to all commercial fishing gear capable of retaining ground fish (trawls, scallop dredges, gill nets and hook gear) in December 1994. Annually between 2004 and 2008, one site in the closed are and one site in an adjacent fished area were surveyed at 45–55 m depth. Epifauna were collected using a dredge (2–3 samples/site/year; 6.4 mm mesh liner), identified, counted, and wet-weighed.

    (Summarised by: Anaëlle Lemasson & Laura Pettit)

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