Spatial variability of soft-bottom macrobenthic communities in northern Sicily (western Mediterranean): contrasting trawled vs. untrawled areas

  • Published source details Romano C., Fanelli E., D'Anna G., Pipitone C., Vizzini S., Mazzola A. & Badalamenti F. (2016) Spatial variability of soft-bottom macrobenthic communities in northern Sicily (western Mediterranean): contrasting trawled vs. untrawled areas. Marine Environmental Research, 122, 113-125.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Cease or prohibit bottom trawling

Action Link
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
  1. Cease or prohibit bottom trawling

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2005 in four gulfs of muddy seabed in the Mediterranean Sea, off the northern coast of Sicily, Italy (Romano et al. 2016) found that, 15 years after prohibiting trawling, overall invertebrate community composition, but not total invertebrate abundance, biomass, or diversity, was different to that of trawled gulfs. Invertebrate communities were different between non-trawled and trawled gulfs (community data presented as graphical analyses), with amphipods reported to dominate non-trawled gulfs, while polychaete worms reported to dominate trawled gulfs. There were no statistical differences between gulfs in total abundance (non-trawled: 683–872; trawled: 448–633 individuals/m2), total biomass (non-trawled: 751–927; trawled: 1,000–1,080 g/m2) and diversity (as a diversity index). Two gulfs (200 and 240 km2) were closed to trawling in 1990 (artisanal fishing with static gears and small purse seines allowed). In May–June 2005, sediment samples were collected in the two closed gulfs and two fished gulfs (18 samples/gulf) using a grab (0.4 m2; 3 grabs/sample) at 40–80 m depth. Invertebrates >0.5 mm were identified to family level and dry-weighed.

    (Summarised by: Anaëlle Lemasson & Laura Pettit)

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