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A new apparatus for the direct measurement of otter trawling effects on the epibenthic and hyperbenthic macrofauna

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 January 2004

P.T. Koulouri
Institute of Marine Biology of Crete, PO Box 2214, 71003, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
C.G. Dounas
Institute of Marine Biology of Crete, PO Box 2214, 71003, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
A.S. Eleftheriou
University of Crete, Department of Biology, PO Box 2208, Vasilika Vouton, 71409, Heraklion, Crete, Greece


A towed trawl simulator sledge (TTSS2) for collecting quantitatively small macrobenthic animals disturbed by the passage of otter trawl groundrope typical of the local fishery is described and illustrated. The TTSS2 was towed from a surface vessel at a speed within the range of commercial trawls, incorporating three sampling nets that open and close by means of an electro-mechanical system. An odometer in contact with the seabed provided a continuous record of the trawled ground. The degree of efficiency of the TTSS2—by means of the attached groundrope that stirs up the surface of the bottom ahead of the nets—was tested in the northern continental shelf of Crete (eastern Mediterranean). Additional trials with a much heavier groundrope were also performed. Analysis and comparison of TTSS2 samples with endobenthic, hyperbenthic and planktonic samples collected by means of conventional sampling gears indicate the presence of a well-defined and distinct fauna in the plume of resuspended sediment behind the groundrope.

Research Article
2003 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

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