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Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology

From the shoreline to the deep ocean, tackling issues from pure ecology
and physiology to aquaculture, marine spatial planning and conservation.

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The impact of bottom fishing on biodiversity hotspots

IoM reef original

A new paper by CMBB researchers published in Plos One, describes the impacts caused by bottom-towed fishing gear. The study looked at impacts caused by a single pass of fishing gear on two horse mussel reefs in the Irish Sea.

The results showed that up to 90% of the organisms living on the reef declined in abundance after the impact, and the diversity of organisms also significantly declined. The study also highlighted the sensitivity of these reefs to impacts as no recovery was recorded a year after being damaged.

The study presented the authors with a unique opportunity to observe a reef before and after the impact of fishing gear, as previous studies have only indirectly linked reef decline with fishing activity. This proves particularly insightful as a deliberate experiment to study the impacts caused by fishing gear would be unethical and illegal, in Marine Protected Areas.

It is the hope of the authors that the results generated by the paper can give conservation managers the evidence required to support future decisions on the protection of these reefs.   

To view the article click here:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0069904