The impact of trawl fishery on the epifauna of the southern North Sea

H Rumohr
2000 ICES Journal of Marine Science  
Qualitative historical benthos data (1902)(1903)(1904)(1905)(1906)(1907)(1908)(1909)(1910)(1911)(1912) were compared with recent data (1986) to find long-term trends in epifauna species composition in the southern North Sea that may be attributed to fishery-induced changes. In general, the frequency of occurrence of bivalve species declined, whereas scavenger and predator species (crustaceans, gastropods, and sea stars) were observed more frequently in 1986. We suggest that these shifts can be
more » ... ttributed not only to the physical fishery impact, but also to the additional potential food for scavenging and predator species provided by the large amounts of discards and moribund benthos. Our findings are put into the perspective of the general development of the demersal fishery in the southern North Sea. Despite the problems with the historical data set, the comparison presented may be the best illustration achievable of the changes in the benthos from a near-pristine situation to the present conditions after long-term disturbance. 2000 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
doi:10.1006/jmsc.2000.0930 fatcat:bohrvt647racvfvlbajohxrbze