Influence of intertidal recreational fisheries and ‘bouchot’ mussel culture on bivalve recruitment

TitleInfluence of intertidal recreational fisheries and ‘bouchot’ mussel culture on bivalve recruitment
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsToupoint, N, Barbier, P, Tremblay, R, Archambault, P, McKindsey, CW, Winkler, G, Meziane, T, Olivier, F
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Pagination1 - 12

Abstract In coastal environments, fishing and aquaculture may be important sources of disturbance to ecosystem functioning, the quantification of which must be assessed to make them more sustainable. In the Chausey Archipelago, France, recreational fishing and commercial shellfish farming are the only two evident anthropogenic activities, dominated by bivalve hand-raking and ‘bouchot’ mussel culture, respectively. This study evaluates the impact of both activities on bivalve recruitment dynamics by comparing primary recruitment intensity (short-term effect) and recruitment efficiency (medium-term effect) by sampling bivalves in reference (undisturbed) and disturbed (i.e. subjected to hand-raking or in ‘bouchot’ mussel culture areas) parcels throughout and at the end of the recruitment season, respectively. Specific hypotheses evaluated were that (H1) bivalve hand-raking negatively affects bivalve recruitment and that (H2) ‘bouchot’ mussel culture promotes bivalve recruitment. Patterns in bivalve community structure in reference parcels (i.e. natural pattern) differed between initial and final recruitment, underlining the great importance of early post-settlement processes, particularly secondary dispersal. Primary recruitment intensity was inhibited in hand-raking parcels whereas it was promoted in ‘bouchot’ mussel culture parcels, but the effect on recruitment efficiency was muted for both activities due to post-settlement processes. Nevertheless, the importance of effects that occur during the first step of recruitment should not be ignored as they may affect bivalve communities and induce immediate consequences on the trophic web through a cascade effect. Finally, it is highlighted that hand-raking damages all life stages of the common cockle Cerastoderma edule, one of the major target species, suggesting that this activity should be managed with greater caution than is currently done.