Are trawl marks a good indicator of trawling pressure in muddy sand fishing grounds?

Type Article
Date 2018-02
Language English
Author(s) Merillet Laurene1, Kopp DorotheeORCID1, Robert MarianneORCID1, Salaun Michele1, Mehault Sonia1, Bourillet Jean-FrancoisORCID2, Mouchet Maud3
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, Unite Sci & Technol Halieut, LTBH, 8 Rue Francois Toullec, F-56100 Lorient, France.
2 : IFREMER, Ctr Bretagne, Dept Ressources Phys & Ecosyst Fond Mer REM, CS 10070,ZI Pointe Diable, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
3 : UPMC, CNRS, MNHN, UMR 7204,Ctr Ecol & Sci Conservat CESCO, 43 Rue Buffon, F-75005 Paris, France.
Source Ecological Indicators (1470-160X) (Elsevier Science Bv), 2018-02 , Vol. 85 , P. 570-574
DOI 10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.11.016
WOS© Times Cited 3
Keyword(s) Bay of Biscay, Fishing intensity, Sediments, Underwater video, Vessel monitoring system
Abstract

The development of the vessel monitoring system (VMS) in the recent years has offered high-resolution data to map the distribution and intensity of fishing activities and contributed to enhancing the potential identification of fishing impacts. However, impacts could vary at very small scale and the resolution of VMS data might not be fine enough. Other proxy could be used, such as trawl marks visible on the seabed observed by underwater video or side-scan sonar to evaluate small-scale trawling effort. In the Bay of Biscay, an underwater video survey of the Nephrops norvegicus fishing ground was conducted and provided environmental characteristics such as depth and number of trawl marks at 152 transects. The relevance of observed trawl marks as a small-scale proxy of trawling effort was tested depending on the sediment type. The model showed a significant positive relation between density of marks and trawling effort for all sediments together but a different relation for each sediment type. Considering each sediment type separately, the unexpected high number of marks observed on sands could be linked with cohesive interactions between calcium carbonates particles while the low number of marks on fine lithoclastic muds could be due to sediment reworking and bioturbation. We conclude that the impact of trawling on the seabed varies with the type of sediments, hydrodynamic parameters, bioturbation and trawling intensity, leading to a very complex relationship. Trawl marks observed on video footage thus could be used as a proxy of trawling effort among the same type of sediment and not for fine lithoclastic muds.

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