Technological innovations to reduce the impact of bottom gears on the seabed

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Antonello Sala
  • Jochen Depestele
  • Aysun Gümüş
  • Pascal Laffargue
  • J. Rasmus Nielsen
  • Hans Polet
  • Chris J. Smith
  • Mustafa Zengin
  • Francois Bastardie
  • Ole R. Eigaard
  • Katell G. Hamon
  • Jensen, Frank
  • Alessandro Lucchetti
  • Sonia Méhault
  • Emilio Notti
  • Nadia Papadopoulou
  • Andrea Petetta
  • Mattias Sköld
  • Benoit Vincent
  • Adriaan D. Rijnsdorp

Impact of bottom gear fishing is primarily determined by the sensitivity of the benthic community, fishing intensity and penetration depth of the gears. Disturbance of benthic populations and physical modification of bottom substrates are “outputs” of bottom fishing, which produces a clearly defined footprint identified by the spatial extent of fishing and the width of the gear that is in contact with the sea floor. Solutions and innovations to reduce the adverse impacts of bottom fisheries on demersal ecosystems is a global priority. Three modus operandi were studied - alternative gears, alternative catch stimuli, alternative gear components, where each could contribute to a reduction in fishing footprint, benthic impact, sediment resuspension. A collaborate study was undertaken with the fishing industry into innovative technologies to reduce seabed fishing impacts in ten case studies covering the main mobile bottom-contacting gears across European waters. Strategies to reduce fuel use, greenhouse gas emissions, and bycatch are explored in the study as incentives for the fishing industry to reduce seabed impacts. Lifting otterboards or replacing mechanical- by electrical-stimulation provide promising avenues to mitigate fishing impact. Replacing towed- by static-gear has potential but is not a generic solution. The adoption of technical innovations critically depends on the economic performances. In some cases, reduced fuel consumption and costs enhanced the uptake by the fishery. In certain scenarios, limited fishing opportunities due to unacceptable environmental impacts, has prompted innovation. No single modus operandi can solve all the seabed impacts and a combination may be most effective depending on local habitat type, regulatory setting, social and economic characteristics of the fishery. As demonstrated by the current study, creative and innovative solutions can be found to minimize the effects of fishing on marine habitats while maintaining viable, long-term commercial fisheries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105861
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd

    Research areas

  • Baltic Sea, Beam trawl, Bivalves, Black Sea, Dredge, Mediterranean Sea, Nephrops, North Sea, Otter trawl, Western waters

ID: 371914467