Development of benthic indicators for assessment of fisheries impacts on marine benthic fauna and habitats (Benthic indicators of fishery impacts) (39518)

Project Details


Background: Recent studies have shown the existing Danish Quality Index (DKI) is inefficient as a state indicator of fisheries effects of benthic macrofaunal habitats. This is thus an incentive for development of suitable benthic state indicators that are sensitive to bottom trawling. Such indicators are a requirement for assessment of fisheries impact on good environmental statue (GES) of benthic habitats and seafloor integrity under the EU Habitat Directive (HD) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

Aims of the project: To support the national and EU implementation of the MSFD Descriptor 6 "Seafloor Integrity" assessment, the overall goal of this project was to explore, model and further develop new benthic indicators using new high-resolution pressure data and biological traits and composition of benthic macrofauna relevant to ecosystem diversity, structure and functioning.

Results: Biological traits, such as longevity, maximum body size, tube-building, sessile living and burrow-dwelling proved important as macrofaunal indicators of benthic habitat state relative to total fishing pressure across different habitats and waterbodies. Lighter gear types showed relatively moderate to low impacts on habitats in habitats of natural disturbance from wave exposure or high level of eutrophication. Fisheries effects of macrofaunal mortality and changes of trait composition, thus, varied depending on both gear types and habitat types. Development of threshold values for benthic state indicators should therefore consider differences in environmental conditions between different ecoregions and habitats.

Conclusions: The investigations carried out during this project provided new environmental and faunal data, identified and applied biological traits and diversity measure, and developed and further improved models for assessment of fisheries impact of seafloor integrity across and within the Baltic Sea ecoregion.

The project is funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and the Danish Fisheries Agency. 

Research area: Ecosystem based Marine Management
Research area: Fisheries Management
Research area: Marine Living Resources
Research area: Observation Technology
Effective start/end date04/12/201707/06/2021


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