Working Group on Fisheries Benthic Impact and Trade-offs: (WGFBIT; outputs from 2019 meeting)

Ole Ritzau Eigaard, Gert Van Hoey, Tobias van Kooten, Sebastian Valanko, Pieter Daniël van Denderen, Francois Bastardie, Stefan Bolam, Philip Boulcott, Lene Buhl-Mortensen, Julian Burgos, Paul Coleman, Alessandro Colombelli, Lorenzo D'Andrea, Jochen Depestele, Grete E. Dinesen, Josefine Egekvist, Emanuela Fanelli, Dario Fiorentino, Jan Geert Hiddink, Georgios KazanidisPascal Laffargue, Lis Lindal Jørgensen, Maria Cristina Mangano, Roi Martinez, Megan Parry, Elisa Punzo, Antonella Sala, Giuseppe Scarcella, Mattias Sköld, Anna Nora Tassetti, Cristina Vina-Herbon

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The Working Group on Fisheries Benthic Impact and Trade-offs (WGFBIT) develops methods and performs assessments to evaluate benthic impact from fisheries at regional scale, while considering fisheries and seabed impact trade-offs. WGFBIT has attempted to per-form these assessments for as many regions as possible, and for each region indicate, prioritize and execute (if feasible) potential improvements. In order to broadly anchor the assessment methodology, demonstrate its utility and flexibility and identify relevant data gaps and appropriate improvement potentials it was key that each assessment was per-formed and discussed by the regional experts at the meeting.
The FBIT assessment framework was successfully applied in 5 ecoregions; the Arctic Sea, the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Celtic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, with variable level of completeness and robustness. Standard structured regional outputs from the WGFBIT assessment workflow, in terms of pressure, sensitivity and impact estimates, were produced and presented for each region. This is a significant step towards the WGFBIT term of reference ‘to produce a framework for MSFD D6/D1 assessment related to bottom abrasion of fishing activity at the regional scale’.
An additional outcome from the assessments was an increased consensus and appreciation of the utility of the FBIT assessment framework. Each regional group identified where and how the assessment and methodology could be further improved; e.g. the need for updated and regionwide fishing pressure data and the inclusion of additional region-specific environmental variables in the estimation of habitat sensitivity. Moreover, a strategy was agreed on to further operationalize the current ecoregion assessments as well as bring in additional ecoregions.
Four intersessional subgroups (trade-off, deep sea, data-script management, communication and advice) were established to facilitate future advances in the work of WGFBIT. These groups will be seeking to update and increase coverage of fishing pressure data (mainly for the Mediterranean), develop longevity estimation methods for deep-sea species and habitats, refine assessment approaches, integrate additional physical disturbance pressures, in addition to fishing, in the assessment and further develop communication material addressing dissemination of the methodological details, the actual assessment procedures and standardized workflow.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherInternational Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
Number of pages107
Publication statusPublished - 2020
SeriesICES Scientific Report


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