Title

Trawl fishing impacts on the status of seabed fauna in diverse regions of the globe

Authors

Tessa Mazor, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere
C. Roland Pitcher, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere
Wayne Rochester, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere
Michel J. Kaiser, Heriot-Watt University
Jan G. Hiddink, Bangor University
Simon Jennings, International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
Ricardo Amoroso, University of Washington
Robert A. McConnaughey, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Northwest Regional Office
Adriaan D. Rijnsdorp, Wageningen University & Research
Ana M. M. Parma, Centro Para el Estudio de Sistemas Marinos (CESIMAR), CONICET-CENPAT
Petri Suuronen, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
Jeremy Collie, University of Rhode Island
Marija Sciberras, CSIC-UIB - Instituto Mediterraneo de Estudios Avanzados (IMEDEA)
Lara Atkinson, South African Environmental Observation Network
Deon Durholtz, Fisheries Management Branch
Jim R. Ellis, Centre for the Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Stefan G. Bolam, Centre for the Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Michaela Schratzberger, Centre for the Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Elena Couce, Centre for the Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Jacqueline Eggleton, Centre for the Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Clement Garcia, Centre for the Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Paulus Kainge, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Namibia
Sarah Paulus, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Namibia
Johannes N. Kathena, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Namibia
Mayya Gogina, The Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research
P. Daniël van Denderen, Technical University of Denmark
Aimee A. Keller, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Beth H. Horness, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Ray Hilborn, University of Washington

Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

1-1-2021

Abstract

Bottom trawl fishing is a controversial activity. It yields about a quarter of the world's wild seafood, but also has impacts on the marine environment. Recent advances have quantified and improved understanding of large-scale impacts of trawling on the seabed. However, such information needs to be coupled with distributions of benthic invertebrates (benthos) to assess whether these populations are being sustained under current trawling regimes. This study collated data from 13 diverse regions of the globe spanning four continents. Within each region, we combined trawl intensity distributions and predicted abundance distributions of benthos groups with impact and recovery parameters for taxonomic classes in a risk assessment model to estimate benthos status. The exposure of 220 predicted benthos-group distributions to trawling intensity (as swept area ratio) ranged between 0% and 210% (mean = 37%) of abundance. However, benthos status, an indicator of the depleted abundance under chronic trawling pressure as a proportion of untrawled state, ranged between 0.86 and 1 (mean = 0.99), with 78% of benthos groups > 0.95. Mean benthos status was lowest in regions of Europe and Africa, and for taxonomic classes Bivalvia and Gastropoda. Our results demonstrate that while spatial overlap studies can help infer general patterns of potential risk, actual risks cannot be evaluated without using an assessment model that incorporates trawl impact and recovery metrics. These quantitative outputs are essential for sustainability assessments, and together with reference points and thresholds, can help managers ensure use of the marine environment is sustainable under the ecosystem approach to management.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Fish and Fisheries

Volume

22

Issue

1

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