To sustainable management of North Sea habitats: Studying the ecological characteristics of fishing hotspots

  • Karin van der Reijden (Speaker)
  • Niels T. Hintzen (Contributor)
  • Govers, L. (Contributor)
  • Adriaan Rijnsdorp (Contributor)
  • Olff, H. (Contributor)

Activiteit: Academic presentationAcademic


Bottom trawl fisheries negatively affect benthic habitats, with varying impact between different habitats.In addition, fisheries often show highly aggregated patterns, which are stable over time. The structuring mechanisms behind these stable fishing hotspots, however, are not well understood. In this study, we show that the three dominant Dutch demersal fisheries target very specific benthic habitats, which are relatively rare. Beam-trawls targeting sole are mainly active in the Southern North Sea, and therein more specifically the depressions between sand ridges. Fisheries for Norway lobster and plaice show different preferences. Logically, preferred habitats are coupled to distribution patterns of target species. We thus show that fishermen exactly know where to catch their target species, and with that, they indirectly know the habitat-requirements of these species. Moreover, we demonstrate that benthic habitats are subjected to unequal fishing pressures. Fisheries are currently managed by species-specific catch limitations (quota), and by fisheries-specific effort restrictions. The spatial distribution of fishing activity, however, is only marginally managed. So are multiple intensively fished hotspots located within Natura 2000 areas. We conclude that for effective protection of specific and rare habitats, management should include the spatial distribution of both benthic habitats and their users.
EvenementstitelNetherlands Annual Ecology Meeting 2019
Organisator Netherlands Ecological Research Network (NERN)
LocatieLunteren, NetherlandsToon op kaart
Mate van erkenningNational