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Environmental impact of trawling on the seabed: A review

Jones, J.B.ORCID: 0000-0002-0773-2007 (1992) Environmental impact of trawling on the seabed: A review. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 26 (1). pp. 59-67.

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Fishers have been complaining about the effects of bottom trawl gear on the marine environment since at least the 14th century. Trawl gear affects the environment in both direct and indirect ways. Direct effects include scraping and ploughing of the substrate, sediment resuspension, destruction of benthos, and dumping of processing waste. Indirect effects include post‐fishing mortality and long‐term trawl‐induced changes to the benthos. There are few conclusive studies linking trawling to observed environmental changes since it is difficult to isolate the cause. However, permanent faunal changes brought about by trawling have been recorded. Research has established that the degree of environmental perturbation from bottom trawling activities is related to the weight of the gear on the seabed, the towing speed, the nature of the bottom sediments, and the strength of the tides and currents. The greater the frequency of gear impact on an area, the greater the likelihood of permanent change. In deeper water where the fauna is less adapted to changes in sediment regimes and disturbance from storm events, the effects of gear take longer to disappear. Studies indicate that in deep water (>1000 m), the recovery time is probably measured in decades

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Copyright: © 1992 Taylor & Francis
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