Finfish and scallops

Mobile gears such as trawls may also operate on or near reefs eg. rock hopping gear, but rocky seabeds are generally avoided because of the potential damage to gear. The same applies to scallop dredging although spring-loaded or "Newhaven dredges" have been designed to cope with these conditions allowing sandy/gravelly pockets of sediment within reefs to be fished in this way. Gill netting can also take place over reefs as well as other habitats. For ease of reference their effects and those of trawling are described in sections dealing with shallow inlets and bays and sandbanks (4.5). The main discussion about scallop dredging is elsewhere although there is some consideration of its effects on reefs below.

The use of rock hopping and spring loaded dredges allows trawling and scalloping to extend beyond areas of soft seabed and on to reefs. This is particularly the case if the rock is relatively soft, making them vulnerable to structural damage as well as removal of epifauna, as shown by a study in Lyme Bay, South Devon12. This study showed that hydroids, anemones, corals, bryozoans, tunicates and echinoderms are vulnerable to mobile fishing gear.

Biogenic reefs may also suffer impacts from fishing activity. There are reports of Sabellaria spinulosa and oyster beds being severely damaged by trawling activity8.

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