Citation Information: ICES J. Mar. Sci. (2009) 66 (1): 82-89. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn181
Authors: Helen M. Fraser, S. P. R. Greenstreet and Gerjan J. Piet
Abstract: Fishing has affected North Sea groundfish species diversity. Defining Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to address this will rely on groundfish surveys. Species-specific catch efficiencies vary between trawl gears, and apparent species diversity distributions are influenced by the type of gear used in each survey. It may be that no single survey depicts actual diversity distributions. Two MPA scenarios designed to protect groundfish species diversity are described, the first based on unadjusted International Bottom Trawl Survey data and the second based on the same data adjusted to take account of catchability. Spatial overlap between these scenarios is low. Assuming that the adjusted data best describe the actual species diversity distribution, the level of diversity safeguarded by MPAs, based on unadjusted data, is determined. A fishing effort redistribution model is used to estimate the increase in fishing activity that is likely to occur in MPAs that take catchability into account, if closed areas based solely on the unadjusted groundfish data were implemented. Our results highlight the need to take survey-gear catchability into account when designating MPAs to address fish-species diversity issues.