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Mortality in megafaunal benthic populations caused by trawl fisheries on the Dutch continental shelf in the North Sea in 1994
Bergman, M.J.N.; van Santbrink, J.W. (2000). Mortality in megafaunal benthic populations caused by trawl fisheries on the Dutch continental shelf in the North Sea in 1994. ICES J. Mar. Sci./J. Cons. int. Explor. Mer 57: 1321–1331
In: ICES Journal of Marine Science. Academic Press: London. ISSN 1054-3139, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Beam trawlers; Benthos; Fishing mortality; Impact; Mortality; Otter trawlers; Trawling; Netherlands, North Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine
Author keywords
    direct mortality of trawling, fishing mortality, impact of beam trawling, impact of otter trawling, megafauna

Authors  Top 
  • Bergman, M.J.N.
  • van Santbrink, J.W.

    We estimated the direct mortality of benthic fauna caused by one single passage of commercial beam and otter trawls in field experiments. The benthos dredge Triple-D was used to sample megafauna (>1 cm), while macrofauna (>1 mm) were sampled by means of a Reineck boxcorer and, in some cases, a van Veen grab. Direct mortalities ranging from about 5 up to 40% of the initial densities were observed for a number of gastropods, starfishes, small and medium-sized crustaceans, and annelid worms. For bivalve species, direct mortalities were found from about 20 up to 65%. Mortality per m2 trawled area due to fishing with a 12-m beam trawl was not higher than that due to a 4-m beam trawl. For all species considered, the direct mortality was largely attributed to animals that died in the trawl track, either as a direct result of physical damage inflicted by the passage of the trawl or indirectly owing to disturbance, exposure, and subsequent predation. In 1994, the 12 m beam trawl with tickler chains was the dominant gear type in the Dutch sector, resulting in a mean annual trawling frequency of 1.23. The mean annual trawling frequencies with the 4 m beam trawl using tickler chains, the 4 m beam trawl with a chain mat, and the otter trawl were 0.13, 0.01, and 0.06, respectively. The annual fishing mortality in invertebrate megafaunal populations in the Dutch sector ranged from 5 up to 39%, with half of the species showing values of more than 20%. For all species studied, the 12 m beam-trawl fisheries caused higher annual fishing mortalities than the concerted action of the other fisheries. Only with respect to species restricted to sandy coastal areas did the 4 m beam-trawl fleet contribute substantially to the annual mortality. Implications of the impact of trawling on the composition of benthic communities are discussed.

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