ATLANTIC_CH07_Product_2 / Damage to seafloor to both living and non-living components

Date(s) (Creation)
Point of contact(s): Marine Institute
Publisher(s): EMODnet Atlantic Checkpoint
DOI 10.12770/d3c8b0f4-855d-4006-b0f0-77d50ff66acc
Abstract The impact of fishing on benthic habitats has previously been investigated however; a conclusive classification of potentially sensitive habitats per gear type does not exist. Currently only qualitative estimates of fishery impact using Broad-scale habitat maps are possible. Here a sensitivity matrix using both fishing pressure (fishing Intensity) and habitat sensitivity is employed to define habitat disturbance categories. The predominant fishing activities associated with physical abrasion of the seafloor area are from bottom contacting towed fishing gear. The swept area of the aforementioned gear in contact with the seabed is generally considered a function of gear width, vessel speed and fishing effort (ICES. 2015). The varying characteristics of fishing gear, their interaction with the sea floor and species being targeted; provide scope for differing interactions with subsurface (infaunal) and surface (epifaunal) dwelling communities. An evaluation of the abrasion pressure and habitat sensitivity split into surface and subsurface pressure allows greater insight to the ecological effects. Fishing intensity was calculated annually and based on the area of sea floor being swept (or swept area ratio SAR) by gear type. Calculations are based on SAR’s of gear types per area, per year. Fishing pressure ranks and habitat sensitivity ranks obtained from WGSFD working group (01 WGSFD - Report of the Working Group on Spatial Fisheries Data 2015) can be incorporated within a GIS environment to existing ICES fisheries data to provide habitat disturbance maps (fishing pressure maps+ habitat sensitivity maps)

ICES. 2015. Report of the Working Group on Spatial Fisheries Data (WGSFD), 8–12
June 2015, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen, Denmark. ICES CM 2015/SSGEPI:18. 150
Keywords Atlantic - CH07 - Fisheries Impact, High level analyzed, Delayed, Sea regions, Approved
Utilisation Limited: The product fails in most aspects to meet the objectives but meet some.

This EMODnet Atlantic Checkpoint data product (the “Product”) is the result of a “challenge” stress test specified by the call for tenders No MARE/2012/11. The challenge partners ( "the producer") were commissioned to perform a number of tests to evaluate marine data according to set user requirements. This product and any resultant data and metadata produced is a consequence of these tests and provided for interest only. The Product is provided on an “as is” basis, and the producer disclaims any and all warranties, conditions, or representations (express, implied, oral or written), relating to the Product or any part thereof, including, without limitation, any and all implied warranties of quality, performance, suitability or fitness for a particular purpose to the full extent permitted by law. The Producer and the Atlantic Checkpoint partners accept no liability for loss suffered or incurred as a result of reliance on the Product or any output of its use. The Producer shall not be liable for any economic loss, loss of profit, loss of business or contract, depletion of goodwill or otherwise, in each case whether direct, or indirect or any indirect loss whatsoever (howsoever caused) including loss or damage suffered as a result of an action brought by any person which arise out of or in connection with the use of the Product or inability to use the Product

This assessment is based on a categorical approach, as quantifiable methodologies describing fisheries impact to the seafloor are under development. A sensitivity matrix was prepared using fishing pressure and habitat sensitivity data; combining both layers into an impact layer. VMS and logbook data requested from ICES member Countries as part of OSPAR’s development of fishing intensity and pressure mapping advice in EU waters. In total 11 countries provided complete data that could be used for assessment. Impact maps can only replicate submitted data; 5 countries failed to submit data, resulting in possible underestimation of intensity where these vessels operate. There are substantial fleets of smaller vessels not equipped with VMS (<12m), or Logbooks (<10m EU fleet) which operate in the coastal zone or near shore waters that are not captured in the data requests. Further investigations are needed as many of these vessels may not employ towed bottom gears. Fishing intensity calculations require fishing hours, vessel speed and gear width in contact with the sea floor. In some cases fishing speed was not always supplied in the logbook entries; resulting in averaged supplied fishing speeds being employed. The surface (<2cm) and subsurface (>2cm) penetration depths are characterised as being equal across all substratum types; care should be taken with this assumption as actual depths may vary with substrate type. Further assessment of FAO fishing areas 21, 31, and 34 (Atlantic Northwest, Atlantic Western Central, and Atlantic Eastern Central) could not be concluded due to a lack of VMS and Log book data. Further investigations of Habitat classifications in these areas were not explored.
Temporal Extent 2009 - 2015