Choosing best practices for managing impacts of trawl fishing on seabed habitats and biota

Robert A. Mcconnaughey*, Jan G. Hiddink, Simon Jennings, Roland Pitcher, Michel J. Kaiser, Petri Suuronen, Marija Sciberras, Adriaan D. Rijnsdorp, Jeremy S. Collie, Tessa Mazor, Ricardo O. Amoroso, Ana M. Parma, Ray Hilborn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Bottom trawling accounts for almost one quarter of global fish landings but may also have significant and unwanted impacts on seabed habitats and biota. Management measures and voluntary industry actions can reduce these impacts, helping to meet sustainability objectives for fisheries, conservation and environmental management. These include changes in gear design and operation of trawls, spatial controls, impact quotas and effort controls. We review nine different measures and actions and use published studies and
a simple conceptual model to evaluate and compare their performance. The risks and benefits of these management measures depend on the extent to which the fishery is already achieving management objectives for target stocks and the characteristics of the management system that is already in place. We offer guidance on identifying best practices for trawl-fisheries management and show that best practices and their likelihood of reducing trawling impacts depend on local, national and regional management objectives and priorities, societal values and resources for implementation. There is no universal
best practice, and multiple management measures and industry actions are required to meet sustainability objectives and improve trade-offs between food production and environmental protection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-337
Number of pages19
JournalFish and Fisheries
Volume21
Issue number2
Early online dateDec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Keywords

  • benthos
  • dredging
  • ecosystem-based fishery management
  • impact-yield model
  • trade-offs
  • trawling

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