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Research article2000Peer reviewedOpen access

Effects of shrimp-trawling on abundance of benthic macrofauna in Gullmarsfjorden, Sweden

Hansson, M; Lindegarth, M; Valentinsson, D; Ulmestrand, M


Hypotheses about effects of shrimp-trawling on large benthic macrofauna were tested in a manipulative experiment in Gullmarsfjorden, Sweden. The experiment lasted 1.5 yr and included 3 trawl sites and 3 control sites, each of which was sampled at 4 times before and 4 times after trawling was commenced (a total of 480 samples). Gear and intensities were chosen to approximate those before trawling was prohibited 6 yr before the experiment. The overall trend was that biomass and abundances of animals decreased as a consequence of trawling but few taxa differed significantly among treatments. The mean abundance of echinoderms, in particular the brittlestars Amphiura sp., decreased significantly and substantially after 7 to 12 mo of trawling. In general, however, changes in abundances of animals from one time of sampling to another, and from before to after trawling started, differed among sites. General models based on size and feeding strategy did not accurately predict differences among taxa in sensitivity to disturbances. Differences in overall impacts between this and previous experiments are discussed in terms of fishing intensity, natural variability and experimental design.


trawling; disturbance; benthic assemblage; environmental impact; variability

Published in

Marine Ecology Progress Series
2000, Volume: 198, pages: 191-201
Publisher: Inter Research

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