The potential influence of trawling in shelf waters on benthic fauna had been estimated by model-based approaches but never examined empirically in temperate Australia. Current IMAS surveys in/out of the Beagle Marine Park in Bass Strait (an area closed to trawling for the last 10 years) utilising towed-video, offer an opportunity to quantify the nature and extent of soft-sediment epi-benthic fauna (sponges, ascideans, corals etc) in this region for the first time. This will allow a contrast to be made between the MPA and adjacent fished areas, informing the extent to which trawling may have influenced (or not) this assemblage.
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
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