Estimating seabed pressure from demersal trawls, seines, and dredges based on gear design and dimensions

O.R. Eigaard*, F. Bastardie, M. Breen, N.T. Hintzen, A.D. Rijnsdorp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

148 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study assesses the seabed pressure of towed fishing gears and models the physical impact (area and depth of seabed penetration) from trip-based information of vessel size, gear type, and catch. Traditionally fishing pressures are calculated top-down by making use of large-scale statistics such as logbook data. Here, we take a different approach starting from the gear itself (design and dimensions) to estimate the physical interactions with the seabed at the level of the individual fishing operation. We defined 14 distinct towed gear groups in European waters (eight otter trawl groups, three beam trawl groups, two demersal seine groups, and one dredge group), for which we established gear “footprints”. The footprint of a gear is defined as the relative contribution from individual larger gear components, such as trawl doors, sweeps, and groundgear, to the total area and severity of the gear's impact. An industry-based survey covering 13 countries provided the basis for estimating the relative impact-area contributions from individual gear components, whereas sediment penetration was estimated based on a literature review. For each gear group, a vessel size–gear size relationship was estimated to enable the prediction of gear footprint area and sediment penetration from vessel size. Application of these relationships with average vessel sizes and towing speeds provided hourly swept-area estimates by métier.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)i27-i43
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Volume73
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • benthic impact
  • fishing pressure
  • gear footprint
  • indicators
  • logbooks
  • seabed integrity
  • swept-area
  • towed gears
  • vessel size

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