Towards a framework for the quantitative assessment of trawling impact on the seabed and benthic ecosystem

Type Article
Date 2016-01
Language English
Author(s) Rijnsdorp A. D.1, Bastardie F.2, Bolam S. G.3, Buhl-Mortensen L.4, Eigaard O. R.2, Hamon Katell5, Hiddink J. G.6, Hintzen N. T.1, Ivanovic A.7, Kenny A.3, Laffargue PascalORCID8, Nielsen J. R.2, O'Neill F. G.9, Piet G. J.1, Polet H.10, Sala A.11, Smith C.12, Van Denderen P. D.1, Van Kooten T.1, Zengin M.13
Affiliation(s) 1 : Wageningen UR, IMARES, POB 68, NL-1970 AB Ijmuiden, Netherlands.
2 : Tech Univ Denmark, Natl Inst Aquat Resources, Charlottenlund Castle, DK-2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark.
3 : CEFAS, Pakefield Rd, Lowestoft NR33 0HT, Suffolk, England.
4 : Inst Marine Res, POB 1870, N-5817 Bergen, Norway.
5 : LEI Wageningen UR, POB 29703, NL-2502 LS The Hague, Netherlands.
6 : Univ Aberdeen, Anglesey, Aberdeen, Scotland.
7 : Bangor Univ, Sch Ocean Sci, Menai Bridge LL59 5AB, Anglesey, Wales.
8 : IFREMER, Nantes, France.
9 : Marine Scotland Sci, 375 Victoria Rd, Aberdeen AB11 9DB, Scotland.
10 : Inst Agr & Fisheries Res, Anim Sci Unit, Fisheries & Aquat Prod, Ankerstr 1, B-8400 Oostende, Belgium.
11 : CNR, Ancona, Italy.
12 : Hellen Ctr Marine Res, POB 2214, Iraklion 71003, Crete, Greece.
13 : Cent Fisheries Res Inst, TR-61100 Trabzon, Turkey.
Source Ices Journal Of Marine Science (1054-3139) (Oxford Univ Press), 2016-01 , Vol. 73 , P. 127-138
DOI 10.1093/icesjms/fsv207
WOS© Times Cited 74
Keyword(s) benthos, biological traits, good environmental status, indicators, method, mobile gear, physical impacts
Abstract A framework to assess the impact of mobile fishing gear on the seabed and benthic ecosystem is presented. The framework that can be used at regional and local scales provides indicators for both trawling pressure and ecological impact. It builds on high-resolution maps of trawling intensity and considers the physical effects of trawl gears on the seabed, on marine taxa, and on the functioning of the benthic ecosystem. Within the framework, a reductionist approach is applied that breaks down a fishing gear into its components, and a number of biological traits are chosen to determine either the vulnerability of the benthos to the impact of that gear component, or to provide a proxy for their ecological role. The approach considers gear elements, such as otter boards, twin trawl clump, and groundrope, and sweeps that herd the fish. The physical impact of these elements on the seabed, comprising scraping of the seabed, sediment mobilization, and penetration, is a function of the mass, size, and speed of the individual component. The impact of the elements on the benthic community is quantified using a biological-trait approach that considers the vulnerability of the benthic community to trawl impact (e.g. sediment position, morphology), the recovery rate (e.g. longevity, maturation age, reproductive characteristics, dispersal), and their ecological role. The framework is explored to compare the indicators for pressure and ecological impact of bottom trawling in three main seabed habitat types in the North Sea. Preliminary results show that the Sublittoral mud (EUNIS A5.3) is affected the most due to the combined effect of intensive fishing and large proportions of long-lived taxa.
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Rijnsdorp A. D., Bastardie F., Bolam S. G., Buhl-Mortensen L., Eigaard O. R., Hamon Katell, Hiddink J. G., Hintzen N. T., Ivanovic A., Kenny A., Laffargue Pascal, Nielsen J. R., O'Neill F. G., Piet G. J., Polet H., Sala A., Smith C., Van Denderen P. D., Van Kooten T., Zengin M. (2016). Towards a framework for the quantitative assessment of trawling impact on the seabed and benthic ecosystem. Ices Journal Of Marine Science, 73, 127-138. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :