Demersal fishing disturbance increases predation risk for whelks (Buccinum undatum L.)

Kirsten Ramsay*, Michel J. Kaiser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Field observations by divers indicated that a high rate of predation of whelks (Buccinum undatum) by starfish (Asterias rubens) occurred in an area disturbed by scallop dredging, although these whelks mostly appeared to be alive and externally undamaged. The ability of whelks to escape from starfish was tested in the laboratory after they were dropped or rolled to simulate direct physical contact with bottom fishing gear. Dropping whelks did not significantly affect their escape behaviour, but whelks which had been rolled took significantly longer to right themselves and were significantly less likely to perform an escape response than whelks that had not experienced this treatment. This study suggests that demersal fishing may indirectly increase whelk mortality by increasing their risk of predation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-304
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Sea Research
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1998


  • Buccinum undatum
  • Escape response
  • Fishing impact
  • Predation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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