Marine Biodiversity Records

Research Article

Closed area management taken after the ‘Prestige’ oil spill: effects on industrial fisheries

A. Punzóna1 c1, V. Trujilloa2, J. Castroa2, N. Pereza2, J.M. Bellidoa2, E. Abada1, B. Villamora1, P. Abaunzaa1 and F. Velascoa1

a1 Instituto Español de Oceanografía. Promontorio de San Martín S/N, PO Box 240, 39080 Santander, Spain

a2 Instituto Español de Oceanografía. Cabo Estay Canido S/N, PO Box 1552, 36280 Vigo, Spain

Abstract

After the sinking of the oil carrier ‘Prestige’, which occurred in November 2002, approximately 60,000 mt of heavy oil (type M-100) were spilled into the ocean. Immediately after the accident, a series of management measures were applied to fisheries in the area, resulting in the establishment of various closed areas. Four of the most important fleets operating in the north and north-east of the Iberian Peninsula were affected (otter trawl, pair trawl, purse seine and hand line fishing gears). These fleets exploit important fisheries resources, some of them currently beyond their biological security limits. Reductions in effort were observed in all of them, particularly in the first three months of the ban and in the north-eastern area. However, apart from the hand line fleet, this did not involve a considerable reduction in the total effort produced by each of the fleets in 2003. The pair trawlers perform two trip types, but no differences in the specific composition were observed in any of them during the three years under analysis. Five types of trawling trip were identified, but important reductions were only observed for Norwegian lobster, with the fleet targeting this species as well as hake, megrim and monkfish.

(Received January 25 2007)

(Accepted July 19 2008)

Keywords

  • industrial fisheries;
  • north-east Atlantic;
  • oil spill;
  • closed areas

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: A. Punzón, Instituto Español de Oceanografía. Promontorio de San Martín S/N, PO Box 240, 39080 Santander, Spain email: antonio.punzon@st.ieo.es