The Working Group on Fisheries Benthic Impact and Trade-offs (WGFBIT) develops methods and performs assessments to evaluate benthic impact from fisheries at regional scale, while con-sidering fisheries and seabed impact trade-offs.
In this report, assessments for as many ICES eco-regions as possible are presented. The group also further developed the format of one of its key products; a standard advice sheet with re-gional benthic assessments, intended as regular input to the next generation of the ICES Ecosys-tem and Fisheries Overviews. This new 2-page standard advice sheet was populated with the available assessments presented in the report, i.e. for the North Sea, Baltic Sea, Barents Sea, Nor-wegian Sea, Celtic Seas, and Italian waters. For most of these regions, the standard sheet serves as a proof of concept and a starting point for future regional assessments. For the North Sea a full standard assessment was produced, which is ready to feed into a review process towards publication in ICES Ecosystem and fisheries Overviews. This full North Sea assessment also rep-resents a significant step forward, towards meeting the overall objective of the group ‘to produce a framework for MSFD D6/D1 assessment related to bottom abrasion of fishing activity at the regional scale’. For each region the group identified and prioritized data gaps and obvious next steps towards fully standardized assessments and advice sheets.
Improvement potential of the current impact assessment methodology was also explored and a number of topics such as biological traits category harmonization, ecosystem function, alternative as-sessments, the deep-sea and trade off were identified as focus areas for future work.