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Spatial Distribution of commercial dredge fishing effort: application to survey design and the spatial management of a patchily distributed benthic bivalve species

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Harrington, JJ and Semmens, JM and Haddon, M (2007) Spatial Distribution of commercial dredge fishing effort: application to survey design and the spatial management of a patchily distributed benthic bivalve species. Marine and Freshwater Research, 58 (8). pp. 756-764. ISSN 1323-1650

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Abstract

The patchy spatial distribution of many benthic commercial bivalve species plays an important role in determining
the fishing and management strategies applied within a fishery. This study used fisher catch-return data and high
resolution Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) data to determine the distribution of fishing effort within a region opened
to commercial dredge fishing during the 2003 Tasmanian commercial scallop (Pecten fumatus) fishery, Australia. Fisher
catch return data suggested that most (88%) of the open region was fished, however, fine-scaleVMS data showed that 50%
of the fishing effort occurred within 0.85% of the total area available to fishing, and 95% of the effort occurred within
∼12% of the open region. The distribution of VMS inferred that the fishing effort was found to be patchy at all measured
spatial scales (5×5km to 250×250m grid cell sizes); however, the degree of patchiness decreased with lower spatial
scale cell sizes. Significant differences in the dredged benthic communities recorded within regions exposed to different
concentrations of fishing intensity (heavy, moderate and low) were observed, with low and moderately fished regions
containing high abundances of screwshells and their associated hermit crabs. Water depth was found to explain some
of these observed differences, suggesting that the results may be the consequence of fisher behaviour over pre-existing
habitat types. The observed distribution of the fishing effort and scallop beds within the Tasmanian commercial scallop,
Pecten fumatus, fishery suits a closed area spatial management strategy, with the areas opened to fishing potentially being
of the same scale as scallop beds (km×km).

Item Type: Article
Keywords: benthic communities, fishing effort, scallop fisheries, spatial management, spatial scale.
Journal or Publication Title: Marine and Freshwater Research
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Page Range: pp. 756-764
ISSN: 1323-1650
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1071/MF06101
Additional Information:

Copyright © 2007 CSIRO.

Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2008 14:18
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:34
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