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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 152:307-310 (1997)  -  doi:10.3354/meps152307

Opportunistic feeding by dabs within areas of trawl disturbance: possible implications for increased survival

Kaiser MJ, Ramsay K

As demersal fishing gears are towed across the seabed they dig up or damage infauna. Dab Limanda limanda L. are known to aggregate in areas disturbed by trawls. We demonstrate that dab alter their diet and increase their food intake when feeding in these areas. Although dabs are frequently caught in large numbers as part of the by-catch of commercial flatfish fisheries, and a large proportion of these die, they remain the most abundant flatfish species in the North Sea. Fisheries have selectively removed species that prey upon or compete with dab. Furthermore, fishing activity increases feeding opportunities for dabs. These factors may have contributed to the observed increase in the abundance of dab in the North Sea.

Dab · Fishing disturbance · Diet · Feeding behaviour · Population changes

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