Management of the exploitation of the lugworm Arenicola marina and the ragworm Nereis virens (Polychaeta) in conservation areas


  • P. J. W. Olive

    1. Department of Marine Sciences and Coastal Management, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Dove Marine Laboratory, Cullercoats, North Shields, Tyne and Wear NE30 4PZ, UK
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  • 1.In Europe, bait supply to anglers from the natural environment involves: (i) bait collection by anglers for own use, (ii) local semi-professional bait digging and (iii) professional bait digging contracted to distributors.
  • 2.The management of bait digging activity is particularly acute where there is a conflict with conservation interests.
  • 3.Two case studies are presented describing the population dynamics of: I Arenicola marina in the Lindisfarne nature reserve, and II Nereis virens in the Menai Strait; both in conservation areas.
  • 4.Case I. Populations of A marina are subject to marked annual cycles in number and fresh weight. This case illustrates the response of the population to substantial overexploitation leading to a population crash. With the introduction of restrictive legislation the population was re-established by recruitment of adults from neighbouring unexploited populations.
  • 5.Case II illustrates the dynamics of a N. virens population dominated by large old individuals; it does not represent a sustainable resource in contrast with populations of the same species in other locations.
  • 6.The management of the exploitation of bait populations in conservation areas is discussed in relation to world patterns of utilization and supply.