Bottom trawling affects fish condition through changes in the ratio of prey availability to density of competitors
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AuthorsHiddink, J.G. (Jan G.); Moranta, J. (Joan); Balestrini, S. (Stephen); Sciberras, M. (Marija); Cendrier, M. (Marine); Bowyer, R. (Rosie); Kaiser, M.J. (Michel J.); Sköld, M. (Mattias); Jonsson, P. (Patrik); Bastardie, F. (Francois); Hinz, H. (Hilmar)
ecosystem effects of fishing
marine protected area
1. Bottom-trawl fisheries are widespread and cause mortality of benthic invertebrates, which in turn may lead to a decrease in the availability of prey for target fish species. Exploitation also reduces the abundance of the fish species themselves. Modelling studies have shown that bottom trawling could lead to both increases and decreases in fish production, but so far empirical evidence to test these ideas has been very limited. We hypothesize that the effect of bottom trawling on the food intake and condition of fish depends on how the ratio of prey to consumers changes with increasing fishing pressure. 2. We assessed the impact of bottom trawling on the food availability, condition and stomach contents of three flatfishes and the Norway lobster in an area in the Kattegat that is characterized by a steep commercial bottom-trawling gradient due to the establishment of an area closed to all fisheries, but otherwise has homogeneous environmental conditions. 3. For plaice, prey biomass ...
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