thumbnail

Role of a large marine protected area for conserving landscape attributes of sand habitats on Georges Bank (NW Atlantic)

Marine Ecology Progress Series

By:
, ,
DOI: 10.3354/meps269061

Links

Abstract

Mobile fishing gear reduces seafloor habitat complexity through the removal of structure-building fauna, e.g. emergent organisms that create pits and burrows, as well as by smoothing of sedimentary bedforms (e.g. sand ripples). In this study, we compared the relative abundance of microhabitat features (the scale at which individual fish associate with seafloor habitat) inside and outside of a large fishery closed area (6917 km2) on Georges Bank. Starting in late 1994, the closed area excluded all bottom tending fishing gear capable of capturing demersal fishes. A total of 32 stations were selected inside and outside of the closed area in sand habitats. Video and still photographic transects were conducted at each station using the Seabed Observation and Sampling System (SEABOSS). Seven common (i.e. featureless sand, rippled sand, sand with emergent fauna, bare gravelly sand, gravelly sand with attached-erect fauna, whole shell, shell fragment) and 2 rare (sponges, biogenic depressions) microhabitat types were compared separately. Results showed significant differences in the relative abundance of the shell fragment and sponge microhabitat types between fished and unfished areas. The lack of differences for the other microhabitats may indicate that the level of fishing activity in the area is matched by the system's ability to recover.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Role of a large marine protected area for conserving landscape attributes of sand habitats on Georges Bank (NW Atlantic)
Series title:
Marine Ecology Progress Series
DOI:
10.3354/meps269061
Volume
269
Year Published:
2004
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Coastal and Marine Geology Program
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Marine Ecology Progress Series
First page:
61
Last page:
68
Number of Pages:
8