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Effects of bottom fishing on the benthic megafauna of Georges Bank
Collie, J.S.; Escanero, G.A.; Valentine, P.C. (1997). Effects of bottom fishing on the benthic megafauna of Georges Bank. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 155: 159-172
In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. Inter-Research: Oldendorf/Luhe. ISSN 0171-8630, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Collie, J.S.
  • Escanero, G.A.
  • Valentine, P.C.

    This study addresses ongoing concerns over 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 megafauna 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 least some of these species were reduced at the disturbed sites.

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