The environmental impacts of three different queen scallop (Aequipecten opercularis) fishing gears

Hilmar Hinz*, Lee G. Murray, Fraser R. Malcolm, Michel J. Kaiser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The negative impact of demersal fishing gears on the marine environment may be mitigated by utilizing less damaging fishing gears. Within this context three queen scallop fishing gears were tested for their catch efficiencies and their environmental impact on benthos: a traditional 'Newhaven' dredge, a new dredge design with a rubber lip instead of the traditional teeth as its main new design feature and an otter trawl. Both, the new dredge and the otter trawl showed high catches and relatively low by-catches. Catches made with the traditional dredge were lower and contained larger amounts of non-target species. Both dredges primarily caught invertebrate species, while by-catches of the otter trawl were dominated by demersal fish. The impact of these gears on the benthic biota demonstrated that while no effects were detected for the otter trawl both dredges showed similar negative effects. Clear negative effects were evident for the brittlestar Ophiura ophiura while positive trends for the common starfish Asterias rubens and the hermit crab Pagurus bernhardus indicated scavenging effects. Due to its higher catch efficiency the new dredge caused less damage per unit catch compared to the traditional dredge, yet compared to the otter trawl it appears less environmentally friendly. However, the new dredge may be an alternative to the otter trawls for fisheries where the by-catch of demersal fish has been identified as a significant problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-95
Number of pages11
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • Bycatch
  • Dredge impacts
  • Fishing impact mitigation
  • Macro-benthos
  • Otter trawling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


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