International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
01 WGFBIT - Report of the Working Group on Fisheries Benthic Impact and Trade-offs.pdf (3.08 MB)

Report of the Working Group on Fisheries Benthic Impact and Trade (WGFBIT)

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posted on 2019-02-07, 00:00 authored by ICESICES
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 built upon the ICES 2017 indicators and assessment framework (e.g. MSFD, D6). The assessment framework consists of three main components: fishing pressure (footprint), benthic habi-tat sensitivity and the resulting benthic impact. The framework is used to estimate trade-offs relating to the distribution of impact with other factors important for management (e.g. fisheries economics). The primary goal this first year of WGFBIT was to build a technical guideline document that explains the framework (Annex 4 of this report). The accompanying R code to compute WGFBIT indicators follows the ICES Transparent As-sessment Framework (TAF) guidelines. Second, a roadmap to apply the assessment to other regions was made (scoping of data availability and gaps). Third, discussions were held on intersessional collaborative research to support the goals of WGFBIT.The first meeting of WGFBIT brought together 27 scientists of different expertise with a wide geographical spread, representing all regional seas except the Black Sea and South-ern Iberian coast.WGFBIT uses fishing pressure layers from mobile bottom contacting fishing gears (MBCG) generated by the Working Group on Spatial Fisheries Data (WGSFD). Sugges-tions for improvement of the fishing pressure layer were discussed, in particular regard-ing how the variety of habitats, structures and other pressures within the c-squares can be taken into account. The group also explored how sediment resuspension and smother-ing can be included as a pressure layer.A subgroup worked on the development of methods, applicable on EU region wide scale, to assess the sensitivity of the seabed to bottom-contacting fishing gear, in order to de-termine the impact/status of the seabed. It was decided to focus on applying the PD2 (“Population Dynamics 2”; ICES, 2017; further mentioned as PD) method for all regions. The group summarized the data needs and missing information for the different regions and developed a strategy for ground-truthing the modelled impact from the PD method. Furthermore, the group summarized methods for setting thresholds that reflect the boundary between good and poor status. As benthic habitats are the assessment units within the regions, we checked and linked the EUSeamap 2017 map with the broad scale MSFD habitats and identified gaps. This should help to run the assessment in a standard-ized way for the regions in year 2 and 3 of WGFBIT. In future WGFBIT sessions, we can explore additional indicator approaches in order to compare, cross-check and ground-truth results of various indicators.


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