Persistence and Variation on the Groundfish Assemblages on Flemish Cap (NAFO Divisions 3M): 2004-2013
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Data from the EU (Spain-Portugal) bottom trawl surveys in the Division 3M of the NAFO Regulatory Area (2004-2013) were analyzed to examine patterns on this zone of groundfish assemblage structure and diversity in relation to depth. 1699 hauls between 129 and 1460 m in depth were carried out. We focused on the 29 most abundant species, which made up 87.5% of the catch in terms of biomass. Assemblage structure was strongly correlated with depth. For the most part, changes in assemblages seem to be fairly continuous, although there were more abrupt changes at 600 m. Three main assemblages were identified. A shallow assemblage was found in the shelf. Assemblage I (Shallow) comprises the strata with depths lesser than 250 m and include American plaice (Hippoglossoides platessoides), witch flounder (Glyptocephalus cynoglossus) and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Assemblage II (Intermediate) includes the strata with depths between 251 and 600 m and comprises Acadian redfish (Sebastes fasciatus), ...
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