Developments in benthos and fish in gullies in an area closed for human use in the Wadden Sea : 2002-2016

Glorius, S.T.; Tulp, I.; Meijboom, A.; Bolle, L.J.; Chen, C.


In the eastern Dutch Wadden Sea an area was closed for anthropogenic bottom-disturbing activities in 2005. The ‘natural’ development of the fauna in gullies located within this area was monitored and compared with the development in gullies outside the closed area. Emphasis was put on sampling the benthic fauna (every autumn). Eleven years after closure (2016) the fish population was sampled again and additional benthic samples were taken, the sea floor was mapped and the fishing pressures were calculated. Preliminary results show that throughout the investigated period the open gullies were subject to moderate shrimp fishing pressures and that the closed gullies were not fished. Closure of the gullies has not yet led to the formation of biogenic structures on the seafloor, but has led to an increase in the species richness of small benthic fauna and to subtle changes in benthic species composition. Due to the limited availability of data it was not possible to detect statistically significant differences in the fish population.