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Fishing effects in northeast Atlantic shelf seas: patterns in fishing effort, diversity and community structure. IV. Can comparisons of species diversity be used to assess human impacts on demersal fish faunas?
Rogers, S.I.; Maxwell, D.; Rijnsdorp, A.D.; Damm, U.; Vanhee, W. (1999). Fishing effects in northeast Atlantic shelf seas: patterns in fishing effort, diversity and community structure. IV. Can comparisons of species diversity be used to assess human impacts on demersal fish faunas? Fish. Res. 40(2): 135-152
In: Fisheries Research. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0165-7836; e-ISSN 1872-6763, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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    VLIZ: Open Repository 114967 [ OMA ]

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  • Rogers, S.I.
  • Maxwell, D.
  • Rijnsdorp, A.D., meer
  • Damm, U.
  • Vanhee, W., meer

Abstract
    Patterns in the abundance of commercially important and non-target demersal fish species collected by beam trawl survey from the coastal waters of the northeast Atlantic are described. Catches were dominated by a small number of species, which occurred in large numbers and at high biomass. The most abundant species (plaice and dab) were typical of shallow, uniform sandy and muddy seabed which occurred extensively throughout the southern North Sea, and to a limited extent in UK western waters. Renyi's diversity index family was used to rank the diversity of coastal sectors throughout the region. The less species-rich North Sea fauna, partly a result of the uniform nature of the seabed was largely responsible for lower diversity of North Sea coastal faunas compared to those in the Channel and west of the UK West of the Dover Strait, the more heterogeneous substrate supported a more diverse fauna of smaller sized fish, with the occurrence of southern species such as red gurnard and thickback sole and an increasing abundance of elasmobranchs. In the Irish Sea, fish biomass was dominated by plaice and dab, but to a lesser extent than on the continental coast of the North Sea. Sole, lesser spotted dogfish and cod were also important in this assemblage. Patterns in community structure over such a wide spatial scale, and without historical perspective, can be explained by biogeographic factors, seabed structure and the influence of regional hydrography. Inferring from these patterns an impact of anthropogenic factors (such as towed fishing gears) is unlikely to be achieved. Identifying vulnerable species, and use of fi5hing effort distribution data of high resolution, may be a more fruitful approach.

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