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Long-term changes in the benthic communities on North Sea fishing grounds

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Christopher Frid


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The North Sea has been subjected to fishing activity for many centuries. However, improvements in both fishing vessels and trawling gears since the early 1900s have meant that fishing intensity has increased. A resultant increase in the areas trawled and the use of heavier and potentially more destructive gears probably had effects on the marine community. Information on benthic communities within the North Sea, from both published and unpublished sources, has been compiled to provide a long-term data set of changes in the marine benthos on five selected fishing grounds over 60 years. In two of these (Dogger Bank and Inner Shoal), there was no significant difference in community composition between the early 1920s and late 1980s. In the remaining three areas (Dowsing Shoal, Great Silver Pit, and Fisher Bank) significant differences were observed. However, these were the result of changes in abundance of many taxa rather than large-scale losses of sensitive organisms. These results suggest that fishing has influenced benthic communities in the North Sea. The possibility remains that fishing-induced changes had occurred at the Dogger Bank and Inner Shoal prior to the 1920s. © 2000 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Frid CLJ; Harwood KG; Hall SJ; Hall JA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: ICES Journal of Marine Science

Year: 2000

Volume: 57

Issue: 5

Pages: 1303-1309

Print publication date: 01/01/2000

ISSN (print): 1054-3139

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9289

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1006/jmsc.2000.0900


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