Aquat. Living Resour.
Volume 31, 2018
|Number of page(s)
|12 December 2017
Impacts of a novel shellfishing gear on macrobenthos in a marine protected area: pump-scoop dredging in Poole Harbour, UK
Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Bournemouth University,
BH12 5BB, UK
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Handling Editor: Ellen Kenchington
Accepted: 22 November 2017
Understanding the impact of bottom-fishing gears at various scales and intensities on habitats and species is necessary to inform management. In Poole Harbour, UK, a multiple use marine protected area, fishermen utilise a unique ̋“pump-scoop” dredge to harvest the introduced Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum. Managers need to balance the socio-economic benefits of the fishery with ecological concerns across the region, which has required a revision of by-laws that include both spatial and temporal measures. Within an operational fishery, we used a Before-After-Control-Impact sampling design to assess the impacts of pump-scoop dredging on benthic physical characteristics and community structure in an area where there was no dredging, an area newly opened to dredging and an area subject to high levels of historic dredging. A sampling grid was used in each area to best capture any fishing effort in the newly opened area. Core samples were taken to a depth of 30 cm within intertidal mudflats. A significant loss of fine sediments was observed in the site subject to high intensity dredging and a significant change in community structure also occurred in both dredged sites throughout the study period. In the newly opened site this was characterised by a relative increase in species richness, including increased abundance of annelid worms, notably Hediste diversicolor and Aphelochaeta marioni and a decline in the abundance of the bivalve mollusc Abra tenuis. These changes, albeit relatively small, are attributed to physical disturbance as a direct result of pump-scoop dredging, although no difference in the classification of the biotope of the site was observed. This is of particular interest to managers monitoring site condition within areas under the new by-laws as the Manila clam is spreading to other protected estuaries in the region.
Key words: Shellfish / dredging / fishing / impacts / marine protected areas / manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum / cockle Cerastoderma edule
© EDP Sciences 2017
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