Can shell scars on dog cockles (Glycymeris glycymeris L.) be used as an indicator of fishing disturbance?

K. Ramsay*, M. J. Kaiser, C. A. Richardson, L. O. Veale, A. R. Brand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


The use of shell damage records as an in situ indicator of past fishing disturbance was investigated using the dog cockle Glycymeris glycymeris L. Shell sections of dog cockles collected from four areas subjected to varying levels of fishing disturbance were examined for the presence of damage records or shell 'scars'. Animals from a heavily fished area had significantly higher levels of scarring than those from three lightly fished areas. From an estimation of the age of the shells (from internal growth lines and dating of each line), the year in which scarring occurred was determined and this was compared to yearly records of fishing effort. There was a weak but significant positive correlation between the frequency of shell scars per year and the intensity of fishing effort. Our data suggest that whilst scarring in shells of G. glycymeris cannot accurately be used to estimate past fishing intensity on a year-by-year basis, it can be used to differentiate between severely impacted and lightly fished areas of the sea bed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-176
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sea Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2000


  • Bivalves
  • Fishing effort
  • Growth lines
  • Indicator
  • Shell damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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