Journal Article

Effects of an area closed to fisheries on the composition of the benthic fauna in the southern North Sea

Gerard C. A. Duineveld, Magda J. N. Bergman and Marc S. S. Lavaleye

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 64, issue 5, pages 899-908
Published in print July 2007 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online May 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsm029
Effects of an area closed to fisheries on the composition of the benthic fauna in the southern North Sea

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Duineveld, G. C. A., Bergman, M. J. N., and Lavaleye, M. S. S. 2007. Effects of an area closed to fisheries on the composition of the benthic fauna in the southern North Sea. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64: 899–908.

The effects of fishery exclusion on the composition of the macrofauna were determined by comparing the fishery-exclusion zone around a gas production platform in the southern North Sea (Frisian Front) with nearby regularly fished areas. A Triple-D dredge was used, in addition to a standard box corer, to collect the relatively rare and larger species. Multivariate analysis showed greater species richness, evenness, and abundance of mud shrimps (Callianassa subterranea, Upogebia deltaura) and fragile bivalves (Arctica islandica, Thracia convexa, Dosinia lupinus, Abra nitida, Cultellus pellucidus) in the Triple-D samples from the exclusion area. Although box cores did confirm the higher abundance of both mud shrimps in the exclusion zone and demonstrated greater densities of the brittlestar Amphiura filiformis, they did not clearly reveal the distinctness of the exclusion zone. This is attributed to the large proportion of small, short-living species in the samples and the relative scarcity of vulnerable larger species common to all the box core samples. There was no evidence of greater recruitment in the relative small exclusion zone, despite its positive effect on adult survival. The observation that the fishery affects deep-living mud shrimps may point to consequences for the functioning of the benthic ecosystem other than simple loss of biodiversity.

Keywords: benthos composition; epifauna; fishery-closed areas; infauna; long-term fishery impacts

Journal Article.  6236 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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