Determining deep-sea coral distributions in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence using bycatch records and local ecological knowledge (LEK)

Colpron, Emile Gregory (2016) Determining deep-sea coral distributions in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence using bycatch records and local ecological knowledge (LEK). Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Deep-sea corals have recently received attention due to an increased awareness of their diversity and vulnerability to commercial fisheries. Over 50 species of coral have been identified in Atlantic Canada and the distribution of these species is now fairly well known. However, the deep-sea corals in the Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence have not been previously studied. This study used DFO groundfish survey trawl and fisheries observer records of coral bycatch along with the local ecological knowledge (LEK) of fish harvesters to identify 11 species/groups of deep-sea coral that occur in the Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence (4RSPn) and to map the distribution of seven of these species/groups. Nephtheid soft corals and sea pens (Pennatulacea) are the most common groups occurring in the Northern Gulf. Fish harvester observations on deep-sea coral distributions and coral bycatch in Northern Gulf fisheries are reported along with their opinions on the impacts of different gear types and on protecting corals in the Northern Gulf. Fish harvesters reported that coral bycatch was observed when fishing for eight different target species while using six different gear types and most reported observing a relationship between sea pens and commercial fish species in the Northern Gulf including Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus), Greenland halibut/turbot (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) and Northern shrimp (Pandalus borealis). Fish harvesters’ LEK identified a greater diversity corals than the other two sources of data used, which is likely due to fishing in a wider range of habitats than survey trawls and the longer time periods of observation accessed through fish harvesters’ LEK. There were advantages to using multiple sources of data given the current gaps in our knowledge of deep-sea corals in the Northern Gulf. Each source of data had its own limitations, which are discussed in this thesis, but when used together it was possible to determine deep-sea distribution patterns in the Northern Gulf and to gain insight into the occurrence of deep-sea coral bycatch in Northern Gulf fisheries.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/12107
Item ID: 12107
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: Deep-sea corals, Local ecological knowledge (LEK), Bycatch, Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence, Marine conservation
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Date: May 2016
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Atlantic Ocean--Gulf of Saint Lawrence
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Deep sea corals--Saint Lawrence, Gulf of--Geographical distribution; Bycatches (Fisheries)--Saint Lawrence, Gulf of; Deep sea corals--Effect of fishing on--Saint Lawrence, Gulf of

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