Patterns of habitat utilization by deep-sea fish in the Bay of Biscay, NE Atlantic

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5. Conclusion

The current study provides added evidence to foregoing behavioural investigations of demersal fish species that many deep-water habitats are characterized by complex interactions between biological and physical habitat features.

In terms of deep-sea habitat conservation in the Bay of Biscay, destructive fishing methods, like trawling (Latrouite D et al. 1999), targeting important commercial sensitive species, such as H. atlanticus (low growth rate and high longevity), which are to some extent also associated to deep water corals, may destroy and put at risk these ecosystems.

Other threats as marine litter may affect cold water habitats (van den Beld I et al. 2017).             

Similar to other parts of the world (Friedlander et al. 2014), the introduction of deep sea marine protected areas in this region (Huvenne et al. 2016; Sanchez et al. 2013; van den Beld et al. 2017) may help the habitat reestablishment and protection of the deep sea resources, where there is clear evidence of anthropogenic destruction (Latrouite D et al. 1999).