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Effects of bottom fishing on the benthic megafauna of Georges Bank

Marine Ecology Progress Series

By:
, ,
DOI: 10.3354/meps155159

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Abstract

This study addresses ongoing concerns ever the effects of mobile fishing gear on benthic communities. Using side-scan sonar, bottom photographs and fishing records, we identified a set of disturbed and undisturbed sites on the gravel pavement area of northern Georges Bank in the northwest Atlantic. Replicate samples of the megofauna were collected with a 1 m Naturalists' dredge on 2 cruises in 1994. Compared with the disturbed sites, the undisturbed sites had higher numbers of organisms, biomass, species richness and species diversity; evenness was higher at the disturbed sites. Undisturbed sites were characterized by an abundance of bushy epifaunal taxa (bryozoans, hydroids, worm tubes) that provide a complex habitat for shrimps, polychaetes, brittle stars, mussels and small fish. Disturbed sites were dominated by larger, hard-shelled molluscs, and scavenging crabs and echinoderms. Many of the megafaunal species in our samples have also been identified in stomach contents of demersal fish on Georges Bank; the abundances of at feast some of these species were reduced at the disturbed sites.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Effects of bottom fishing on the benthic megafauna of Georges Bank
Series title:
Marine Ecology Progress Series
DOI:
10.3354/meps155159
Volume
155
Year Published:
1997
Language:
English
Publisher:
Inter-Research
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Marine Ecology Progress Series
First page:
159
Last page:
172
Number of Pages:
14