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  • Marija Sciberras
  • Jan Geert Hiddink
  • Simon Jennings
    University of East Anglia
  • Claire L Szostek
  • Kathryn M Hughes
  • Brian Kneafsey
    School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University
  • Leo J Clarke
    Bournemouth University
  • Nick Ellis
    Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization Oceans & Atmosphere, Brisbane
  • Adriaan D Rijnsdorp
    Wageningen University
  • Robert A McConnaughey
    NOAA, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Seattle
  • Ray Hilborn
    University of Washington
  • Jeremy S Collie
    University of Rhode Island
  • Roland Pitcher
    Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization Oceans & Atmosphere, Brisbane
  • Ricardo O Amoroso
    University of Washington
  • Ana M Parma
    National Scientific and Technical Research Council
  • Petri Suuronen
    Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
  • Michel J Kaiser
Bottom-contact fishing gears are globally the most wide-spread anthropogenic sources of direct disturbance to the seabed and associated biota. Managing these fishing disturbances requires quantification of gear impacts on biota and the rate of recovery following disturbance. We undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of 122 experiments on the effects-of-bottom fishing to quantify the removal of benthos in the path of the fishing gear and to estimate rates of recovery following disturbance. A gear pass reduced benthic invertebrate abundance by 26% and species richness by 19%. The effect was strongly gear-specific, with gears that penetrate deeper into the sediment having a significantly larger impact than those that penetrate less. Sediment composition (% mud and presence of biogenic habitat) and the history of fishing disturbance prior to an experimental fishing event were also important predictors of depletion, with communities in areas that were not previously fished, predominantly muddy or biogenic habitats being more strongly affected by fishing. Sessile and low mobility biota with longer life-spans such as sponges, soft corals and bivalves took much longer to recover after fishing (> 3 yr) than mobile biota with shorter life-spans such as polychaetes and malacostracans (<1 yr). This meta-analysis provides insights into the dynamics of recovery. Our estimates of depletion along with estimates of recovery rates and large-scale, high-resolution maps of fishing frequency and habitat will support more rigorous assessment of the environmental impacts of bottom-contact gears, thus supporting better informed choices in trade-offs between environmental impacts and fish production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)698-715
JournalFish and Fisheries
Volume19
Issue number4
Early online date2 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

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