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Disturbance of benthic species by fishing activities: a sensitivity index
MacDonald, D.S.; Little, M.; Eno, M.C.; Hiscock, K. (1996). Disturbance of benthic species by fishing activities: a sensitivity index. Aquat. Conserv. 6(4): 257-268
In: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. Wiley: Chichester ;New York, N.Y . ISSN 1052-7613, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • MacDonald, D.S.
  • Little, M.
  • Eno, M.C.
  • Hiscock, K., more

    1. Preliminary estimates of the relative sensitivity of sea bed types and benthic species to physical disturbance, particularly fishing activity, have been made in order to identify areas where further studies are required and to help formulate management plans for sites of marine conservation importance.2. Physical disturbance is considered in the context of a single encounter with fishing gear followed by a recovery period during which there is no fishing, but with a view to qualifying, in the future, the effect of multiple fishing events. Disturbance is considered in terms of the physical action of the gear on the sea bed and the unit area over which this action occurs.3. The effects of a wide range of gears are considered. Static gears, which can be employed on a variety of substrata, generally result in low level impacts for single fishing events and impacts are localized compared with the effects of mobile gears, which can extend over considerable areas.4. The theoretical sensitivity of individual species is assessed on the basis of how well they cope with an encounter with fishing gear and on their likely recovery from destruction in terms of their reproductive strategies.5. Species considered of key importance in the structuring of communities are suggested and examples of particularly sensitive species, which are therefore likely indicator species of physical disturbance, are listed.6. Fragile, slow recruiting animals are considered to be most susceptible to disturbance, while the least sensitive species are generally fast growing and have good recruitment.

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