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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 134:303-307 (1996)  -  doi:10.3354/meps134303

Starfish damage as an indicator of trawling intensity

Kaiser MJ

Two species of starfish, Asterias rubens and Astropecten irregularis, were collected from areas in the Irish Sea that are subjected to different intensities of commercial beam trawling. A side-scan sonar survey revealed that the observed abundance of trawl marks correlated with the reported levels of fishing at the sampling locations. The incidence of starfish, of both species, with damaged or regenerating arms increased with increasing fishing intensity. The severity of damage, i.e. the number of regenerating arms, also increased with fishing intensity. The proportion of starfish with damaged or regenerating arms may provide a useful short-term (1 to 2 yr) biological indicator of physical disturbance by demersal fishing gears.

Starfish . Fishing intensity . Indicator species . Beam trawl

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