Development of fishing gears with reduced effect on the environment (DEGREE) (38222)

Project Details


The DEGREE project main objectives were to
1. develop new gears and fishing techniques with a lower impact on benthic habitats.
2. to quantify the potential reduction of the physical impact as well as the negative effects on benthic communities caused by the innovations.
3. to weigh the socioeconomic consequences of these changes against those of alternative management measures, such as the closing of areas.

The project consisted of six work packages (WPs), focusing on management and coordination, modelling and quantification of benthic impacts, otter trawl modifications, beam trawl and dredge modifications, economics, dissemination and implementation of knowledge. The DEGREE project fulfilled its primary objectives and combined expertise of the technology, biology and economy sectors.

A number of alternative fishing gears and gear modifications were developed, with the potential to lower mortality of benthic invertebrates and non-target demersal fish. The bottom impact of the new gear designs and practices were assessed by modelling effects on sediments, comparative fishing experiments, observing tracks made on the sea bed. The economic consequences of using the new gear were analyzed for a number of cases. Among the gears tested and demonstrated to have reduced seabed impact were otter trawls with light weight doors and low impact ground gear, pulse trawls, light beam trawls and low impact oyster dredges. It was recommended to further work on the project findings through the development of innovative tools to enable an integrated evaluation of ecosystem effects of the developed alternative fishing gears, which were designed to decrease the impact on marine ecosystems and contribute to sustainable fisheries.

The project was coordinated by IMARES, Wageningen UR, The Netherlands.

Research area: Fisheries Technology
Effective start/end date01/01/200631/12/2009


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