|Effects of suction-dredging for cockles on non-target fauna in the Wadden Sea|In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101, more
By catch; Dredging; Ecosystem disturbance; Man-induced effects; Tidal flats; Cerastoderma edule (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Hydrobia ulvae (Pennant, 1777) [WoRMS]; Macoma balthica (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; ANE, Wadden Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine
Suction dredging for cockles removes large cockles from tidal flats and may also cause mortality of non-target fauna and make the habitat less suitable for some species. This study examines whether suction dredging for cockles on tidal flats of the Dutch Wadden Sea had affected densities of non-target fauna, directly after fishing and one year later. Densities of non-target fauna in two randomly chosen undredged locations were compared to densities at the surrounding heavily commercially dredged area. A significant negative effect of cockle dredging on densities of 0-group Macoma balthica was observed and this effect persisted one year after dredging. The dredged area appeared to be less suitable for settlement of mussels Mytilus edulis. No significant effects of dredging on the mudsnail Hydrobia ulvae and on 0 and 1-group C. edule were found. For the mobile young Macoma balthica it seems unlikely that the effect found after one year was still due to the mortality caused by dredging and this suggests that the habitat was less suitable as a consequence of dredging. Thus, even in the highly dynamic ecosystem of the Wadden Sea, effects of bottom disturbance by cockle dredging may persist after one year.