Data Trawler - Project details

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Project details

Title: Long-term recovery of trawled marine communities 25 years after the world’s largest adaptive management experiment.
Id: 2459
Investigator(s): John Keesing
CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere - Floreat [details]

Roland Pitcher
CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere - Dutton Park [details]

Keith Sainsbury
CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere - Hobart [details]

Description: By contrasting the diversity, abundance, biomass and size/age composition of the demersal fish community and epibenthic, habitat forming invertebrates across these gradients of historical and recent fishing effort, and by comparing these data with that collected in the 1980s using the same methods, we aim to make firm conclusions about the rates of recovery of trawled communities and the sustainability of trawling. We will test the prediction that areas where trawling effort has ceased or has been dramatically reduced will be characterised by re-establishment of benthic habitats with greater coverage, biomass and complexity of larger habitat-forming filter-feeder communities, and of higher production of key demersal fish species (families: Lethrinidae, Lutjanidae) since comparative surveys in the 1980s. The study will also take into account other environmental gradients (i.e. depth, substrate/habitat type, hydrodynamic forcing at the seabed, pelagic productivity which may influence both the distribution of benthic and demersal community assemblages and their rates of recovery.
Years: 2017



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Journal Article

Scientific Highlight

Voyage Summary


List of surveys that this project was on.

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Survey InvestigatorDescription

John Keesing (CSIRO) RV Investigator research voyage in2017_v05, titled "Long-term recovery of trawled marine communities 25 years after the world's largest adaptive management experiment." The North West Shelf has seen massive reductions in trawling area and effort over past decades from the previous high levels of foreign trawling up until 1990. There remains debate about whether slow growing benthic organisms such as coral and sponges have recovered from this disturbance and whether the current management zoning which has been in place for 20 years and which includes areas closed to fishing, specific areas for trawling and trap is sustainable and effective. The outcomes of the study will have relevance to how trawl fishing is managed in Australia and internationally.
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