Seafloor recovery from fishing gear impacts in Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary slow, unstable

Apr 22, 2011

The University of Connecticut and California State University researchers found that seafloor communities in a restricted fishing area in NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary showed indications of recovery from chronic fishing gear impacts but is not fully stable. The finding is significant because bottom trawlers, dredges and certain gillnets, for example, can alter the ocean floor and benthic ecosystems that provide food and shelter for fish and other marine species.

The Western Gulf of Maine habitat closure area overlaps 22 percent of the sanctuary and was implemented in 1998 by NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service and the New England Fishery Management Council to aid in the recovery of groundfish. The closure area has also provided an opportunity to assess how restricting an area's use can be a tool for conserving . Most was prohibited in the closure area, but lobster traps, recreational hook-and-line, and mid-water trawls were allowed.

The authors caution that their observations "neither support nor reject" the assumption that cessation or reduction of fishing will allow populations and communities to fully recover. They recommend continued monitoring, over a larger number of sites within the sanctuary, to determine how seafloor communities in the Gulf of Maine respond to various human uses.

Explore further: Speckled beetle key to saving crops in Ethiopia

More information: The Stellwagen Bank study, "Dynamics of Hard Substratum Communities Inside and Outside of a Fisheries Habitat Closed Area in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary," is available online: sanctuaries.noaa.gov/science/c… rvation/tamsett.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Gulf of Maine groundfish trawling studied

Feb 07, 2006

University of Maine scientists say they have completed a long-term study of the effects of groundfish trawling on the sea floor of the Gulf of Maine.

NOAA bans commercial harvesting of krill

Jul 13, 2009

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today published a final rule in the Federal Register prohibiting the harvesting of krill in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the coasts of California, Oregon, ...

Recommended for you

Speckled beetle key to saving crops in Ethiopia

5 hours ago

(Phys.org) —An invasive weed poses a serious and frightening threat to farming families in Ethiopia, but scientists from a Virginia Tech-led program have unleashed a new weapon in the fight against hunger: ...

New tool to assess noise impact on marine mammals

5 hours ago

A new desktop tool which will allow offshore renewable energy developers to assess the likely impacts of their projects on marine mammal populations has been developed by scientists at the University of St ...

Of bees, mites, and viruses

23 hours ago

Honeybee colonies are dying at alarming rates worldwide. A variety of factors have been proposed to explain their decline, but the exact cause—and how bees can be saved—remains unclear. An article published on August ...

User comments : 0