• sea whips;
  • British Columbia;
  • beam trawling;
  • trapping;
  • sediment properties


  • 1.
    We conducted a preliminary study of the effects of a shrimp beam trawl and prawn traps on sea whips (Halipteris willemoesi (Cnidaria: Octocorallia: Pennatulacea)) at two bays on Clio Channel, south central coast of British Columbia, Canada. Video and grabs surveys were conducted to estimate abundance and make observations on sea whips and their habitat.
  • 2.
    No adult sea whips were caught in six beam trawls. In 600 prawn (Pandalus platyceros) trap sets at Turnour Bay, 30 sea whips were found entangled in the gear and of these 50% of the colonies were damaged. The length of broken sea whips ranged from 0.09 to 1.03 m. At Turnour Bay, the density of adults observed in video surveys ranged from 7.1 to 14.3 m−2. Juvenile density in grab samples ranged from 53 to 123 m−2 and a few adults were also caught. The lengths of intact adult sea whips caught in traps and grabs ranged from 0.20 to 1.98 m and juveniles from 0.3 to 0.7 cm.
  • 3.
    Fewer adult sea whips (<0.1 m−2) were seen in Bones Bay, where sediments were muddier (grain size <0.25 mm: 84.6 to 97.2%) relative to Turnour Bay (grain size <0.25 mm: 71.4 to 85.9%). Bottom water characteristics at the two bays were similar. Seasonal temperature range was 7.5–8.4°C, salinity 30.63–31.49 psu, and dissolved oxygen 2.76–5.97 mg L−1. Differences in sediment characteristics and food availability may have been a factor influencing differences in abundance of sea whips between the two bays.
  • 4.
    Further data are needed to investigate the effects of trawling and trapping on sea whips, as sample sizes were small in the present study and only two gear types were evaluated. Studies of effects of otter trawling and heavier traps, such as those used for Dungeness crab (Cancer magister), are warranted.

Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.