The importance of scale for fishing impact estimations

G.J. Piet, F.J. Quirijns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


The impact of a bottom trawl fishery on fish or benthos is often determined by multiplying the frequency of the passing of the trawl by a factor for the effect (i.e., % mortality) of the singular passing of the gear. As fishing intensity in an area is not homogeneously distributed, it is necessary to determine the proportions of the area that are fished with different trawling frequencies, as these subareas together contribute to the overall species¿ mortality. In this study, we show that the perceived proportion of the area fished with a specific trawling frequency depends upon the spatial and temporal scale used. A smaller spatial scale results in an increased perceived patchiness of the fishing intensity, while a longer time period does the opposite. The implication is that to determine the fishing-induced mortality of a particular species, the trawling frequency needs to be determined at those spatio-temporal scales that are appropriate considering the species¿ spatial processes (e.g., dispersion) or temporal processes described by life history characteristics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-835
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • southern north-sea
  • species richness
  • spatial scales
  • trawl effort
  • patterns
  • waters
  • communities
  • disturbance
  • indicators
  • management

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