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Seafloor recovery from fishing gear impacts in Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary slow, unstable

Date:
April 22, 2011
Source:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Summary:
Seafloor communities in a restricted fishing area in NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary are showing indications of recovery from chronic fishing gear impacts but is not fully stable.

The University of Connecticut and California State University researchers found that seafloor communities in a restricted fishing area in NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary showed indications of recovery from chronic fishing gear impacts but is not fully stable. The finding is significant because bottom trawlers, dredges and certain gillnets, for example, can alter the ocean floor and benthic ecosystems that provide food and shelter for fish and other marine species.

The Western Gulf of Maine habitat closure area overlaps 22 percent of the sanctuary and was implemented in 1998 by NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service and the New England Fishery Management Council to aid in the recovery of groundfish. The closure area has also provided an opportunity to assess how restricting an area's use can be a tool for conserving biological diversity. Most commercial fishing was prohibited in the closure area, but lobster traps, recreational hook-and-line, and mid-water trawls were allowed.

The authors caution that their observations "neither support nor reject" the assumption that cessation or reduction of fishing will allow populations and communities to fully recover. They recommend continued monitoring, over a larger number of sites within the sanctuary, to determine how seafloor communities in the Gulf of Maine respond to various human uses.

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The above story is based on materials provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Seafloor recovery from fishing gear impacts in Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary slow, unstable." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110422131120.htm>.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2011, April 22). Seafloor recovery from fishing gear impacts in Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary slow, unstable. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110422131120.htm
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Seafloor recovery from fishing gear impacts in Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary slow, unstable." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110422131120.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

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