Shipwreck Site Formation Processes of Commercial Fish Trawling and Dredging

Author(s): Joyce H. Steinmetz

Year: 2013


This regional thesis documents that 1) commercial bottom fishing gear damages shipwrecks and 2) shipwrecks negatively affect commercial bottom fishing. From a 52-wreck sample, 69% of mid-Atlantic shipwrecks have 1 or more derelict trawl nets or scallop dredges on site. Deeper than 150 ft. (46 m), all metal wrecks have 1 to 5 scallop dredges, increasing at scallop rotational access areas. Sadly, wood wrecks do not survive towed dredge impacts. An enhanced shipwreck site formation process diagram is proposed with commercial bottom fishing presenting three modes: material deposit, scrambling, and extraction.

Motivationally, recreational divers wish to retain wreck structure, fisheries managers strive to preserve essential fish habitat, archaeologists desire to safeguard heritage, and most mid-Atlantic fishermen attempt to avoid shipwrecks. Yet, U.S. East Coast fishermen have lost $76 million dollars of gear in 25 years and the losses continue. Mid-Atlantic fishermen believe the solution is knowledge of accurate shipwreck locations.

Cite this Record

Shipwreck Site Formation Processes of Commercial Fish Trawling and Dredging. Joyce H. Steinmetz. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428360)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 278