2016-01-20

Combating IUU fishing in the Caribbean through policy and legislation

Anon. Combating IUU fishing in the Caribbean through policy and legislation. Rome, Italy: FAO; 2015. Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5291e.pdf
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

llegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU fishing) is one of the biggest threats to marine biodiversity and sustainable fishing. Every year between 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish is caught through IUU fishing. This costs the industry between $10 and $23 billion annually and threatens food security in many parts of the world. Estimates indicate that IUU fishing accounts for up to 30% of the total global catch. IUU fishing is also considered a major threat to fisheries resources in the Caribbean region, undermining regional efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks. IUU fishing also prevents governments of the CARICOM countries from achieving their nationally and regionally agreed-upon fisheries management goals and objectives. 

IUU fishing leads to the loss of both short and long-term social and economic opportunities and to negative effects on food security and environmental protection. If IUU fishing is not dealt with, it can lead to the collapse of a fishery or seriously impair efforts to rebuild stocks that have already been depleted. The fight against IUU fishing must be prioritized in order to ensure food security, guarantee income and livelihoods for legitimate fishers, as well as continued export earnings from fisheries. 

This brief provides an overview of international and regional policies and agreements that are essential in the fight against IUU fishing in the Caribbean region.

Fuel and energy use in the fisheries sector: approaches, inventories and strategic implications

Muir JF. Fuel and energy use in the fisheries sector: approaches, inventories and strategic implications. Rome, Italy: FAO; 2015. Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5092e.pdf
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

The role of fuel and energy in the fisheries sector is an important yet little noted issue in natural resource, food and trade policy. While specific aspects of fuel use and cost have periodically concerned the fishing industry and its policy and management agents, the strategic issues of these have been relatively unquestioned until recently. However, in the midst of growing concern for rationalization of fisheries management, for energy and greenhouse gas linkages in climate change mitigation, for competitive options for smaller-scale producers, and for consumer appreciation of the environmental footprint of food choices, these issues deserve further exploration.

This publication addresses the utilization of fuel energy by the global fisheries industry. It explores the complete supply chain from aquatic raw materials to consumption, including capture fishing, aquaculture, post-harvest activities, distribution and retail presentation. This is the first such global overview, and although it has not been possible to set out complete and integrated value-chain perspectives, it provides initial data to demonstrate a range of critical characteristics and trends, with implications for sector development and relevant policy and strategic investment needs. As discussed more fully in the document, there are important interactions to consider in policy and practice, not just in ensuring the viability of the fisheries sector, but in linking energy cost with competition between capture fisheries and aquaculture, with choices of fishing methods or aquaculture systems, with implications for fishing effort, resource pressure and management strategies, and with the costs of making food available to consumers at all levels.

Towards a framework for the quantitative assessment of trawling impact on the seabed and benthic ecosystem

Rijnsdorp AD, Bastardie F, Bolam SG, Buhl-Mortensen L, Eigaard OR, Hamon KG, Hiddink JG, Hintzen NT, Ivanović A, Kenny A, et al. Towards a framework for the quantitative assessment of trawling impact on the seabed and benthic ecosystem. ICES Journal of Marine Science [Internet]. 2016 ;73(suppl 1):i127 - i138. Available from: http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/73/suppl_1/i127.abstract?etoc
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

A framework to assess the impact of mobile fishing gear on the seabed and benthic ecosystem is presented. The framework that can be used at regional and local scales provides indicators for both trawling pressure and ecological impact. It builds on high-resolution maps of trawling intensity and considers the physical effects of trawl gears on the seabed, on marine taxa, and on the functioning of the benthic ecosystem. Within the framework, a reductionist approach is applied that breaks down a fishing gear into its components, and a number of biological traits are chosen to determine either the vulnerability of the benthos to the impact of that gear component, or to provide a proxy for their ecological role. The approach considers gear elements, such as otter boards, twin trawl clump, and groundrope, and sweeps that herd the fish. The physical impact of these elements on the seabed, comprising scraping of the seabed, sediment mobilization, and penetration, is a function of the mass, size, and speed of the individual component. The impact of the elements on the benthic community is quantified using a biological-trait approach that considers the vulnerability of the benthic community to trawl impact (e.g. sediment position, morphology), the recovery rate (e.g. longevity, maturation age, reproductive characteristics, dispersal), and their ecological role. The framework is explored to compare the indicators for pressure and ecological impact of bottom trawling in three main seabed habitat types in the North Sea. Preliminary results show that the Sublittoral mud (EUNIS A5.3) is affected the most due to the combined effect of intensive fishing and large proportions of long-lived taxa.

Effects of trawling on sessile megabenthos in the Great Barrier Reef and evaluation of the efficacy of management strategies

C. Pitcher R, Ellis N, Venables WN, Wassenberg TJ, Burridge CY, Smith GP, Browne M, Pantus F, Poiner IR, Doherty PJ, et al. Effects of trawling on sessile megabenthos in the Great Barrier Reef and evaluation of the efficacy of management strategies. ICES Journal of Marine Science [Internet]. 2016 ;73(suppl 1):i115 - i126. Available from: http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/73/suppl_1/i115.abstract?etoc
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

A series of related research studies over 15 years assessed the effects of prawn trawling on sessile megabenthos in the Great Barrier Reef, to support management for sustainable use in the World Heritage Area. These large-scale studies estimated impacts on benthos (particularly removal rates per trawl pass), monitored subsequent recovery rates, measured natural dynamics of tagged megabenthos, mapped the regional distribution of seabed habitats and benthic species, and integrated these results in a dynamic modelling framework together with spatio-temporal fishery effort data and simulated management. Typical impact rates were between 5 and 25% per trawl, recovery times ranged from several years to several decades, and most sessile megabenthos were naturally distributed in areas where little or no trawling occurred and so had low exposure to trawling. The model simulated trawl impact and recovery on the mapped species distributions, and estimated the regional scale cumulative changes due to trawling as a time series of status for megabenthos species. The regional status of these taxa at time of greatest depletion ranged from ∼77% relative to pre-trawl abundance for the worst case species, having slow recovery with moderate exposure to trawling, to ∼97% for the least affected taxon. The model also evaluated the expected outcomes for sessile megabenthos in response to major management interventions implemented between 1999 and 2006, including closures, effort reductions, and protected areas. As a result of these interventions, all taxa were predicted to recover (by 2–14% at 2025); the most affected species having relatively greater recovery. Effort reductions made the biggest positive contributions to benthos status for all taxa, with closures making smaller contributions for some taxa. The results demonstrated that management actions have arrested and reversed previous unsustainable trends for all taxa assessed, and have led to a prawn trawl fishery with improved environmental sustainability.

Trawling disturbance on megabenthos and sediment in the Barents Sea: chronic effects on density, diversity, and composition

Buhl-Mortensen L, Ellingsen KE, Buhl-Mortensen P, Skaar KL, Gonzalez-Mirelis G. Trawling disturbance on megabenthos and sediment in the Barents Sea: chronic effects on density, diversity, and composition. ICES Journal of Marine Science [Internet]. 2016 ;73(suppl 1):i98 - i114. Available from: http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/73/suppl_1/i98.abstract?etoc
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Bottom-trawl fisheries are expanding into deeper habitats and higher latitudes, but our understanding of their effects in these areas is limited. The ecological importance of habitat-forming megabenthos and their vulnerability to trawling is acknowledged, but studies on effects are few. Our objective was to investigate chronic effects of otter trawl fishery on substratum and megabenthos on the shelf (50–400 m) and slope (400–2000 m) in the southern Barents Sea. The study area represents a wide range in the history of fishing intensity (FI). Physical impact of trawling, density of trawl marks (TMs), was quantified on 250 video transects from shelf and slope, and megabenthos (>2 cm) composition was studied on 149 video transects from the shelf. The number of satellite-recorded vessels within grid cells 5 × 5 km was used as a proxy for FI in the TM analysis and for the megabenthos records within a 2-km radius around the transects. The effects of using different search area sizes were tested. Patterns in the density of TMs and megabenthos composition were compared with FI using linear regression and correspondence analysis. Occurrence of TMs was not directly related to FI but to bottom type, whereas megabenthos density and diversity showed a negative relation. For 79 of the 97 most common taxa, density was negatively correlated with FI. The sponges Craniella zetlandica and Phakellia/Axinella were particularly vulnerable, but also Flabellum macandrewi (Scleractinia), Ditrupa arietina (Polychaeta), Funiculina quadrangularis (Pennatulacea), and Spatangus purpureus (Echinoidea) were negatively correlated with FI, whereas asteroids, lamp shells, and small sponges showed a positive trend. Our results are an important step towards the understanding of chronic effects of bottom trawling and are discussed in relation to the descriptors “Biological diversity” and “Seafloor integrity” in the EU Marine strategic framework directive.

The impacts of deep-sea fisheries on benthic communities: a review

Clark MR, Althaus F, Schlacher TA, Williams A, Bowden DA, Rowden AA. The impacts of deep-sea fisheries on benthic communities: a review. ICES Journal of Marine Science [Internet]. 2016 ;73(suppl 1):i51 - i69. Available from: http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/73/suppl_1/i51.abstract?etoc
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Deep-sea fisheries operate globally throughout the world's oceans, chiefly targeting stocks on the upper and mid-continental slope and offshore seamounts. Major commercial fisheries occur, or have occurred, for species such as orange roughy, oreos, cardinalfish, grenadiers and alfonsino. Few deep fisheries have, however, been sustainable, with most deep-sea stocks having undergone rapid and substantial declines. Fishing in the deep sea not only harvests target species but can also cause unintended environmental harm, mostly from operating heavy bottom trawls and, to a lesser extent, bottom longlines. Bottom trawling over hard seabed (common on seamounts) routinely removes most of the benthic fauna, resulting in declines in faunal biodiversity, cover and abundance. Functionally, these impacts translate into loss of biogenic habitat from potentially large areas. Recent studies on longline fisheries show that their impact is much less than from trawl gear, but can still be significant. Benthic taxa, especially the dominant mega-faunal components of deep-sea systems such as corals and sponges, can be highly vulnerable to fishing impacts. Some taxa have natural resilience due to their size, shape, and structure, and some can survive in natural refuges inaccessible to trawls. However, many deep-sea invertebrates are exceptionally long-lived and grow extremely slowly: these biological attributes mean that the recovery capacity of the benthos is highly limited and prolonged, predicted to take decades to centuries after fishing has ceased. The low tolerance and protracted recovery of many deep-sea benthic communities has implications for managing environmental performance of deep-sea fisheries, including that (i) expectations for recovery and restoration of impacted areas may be unrealistic in acceptable time frames, (ii) the high vulnerability of deep-sea fauna makes spatial management—that includes strong and consistent conservation closures—an important priority, and (iii) biodiversity conservation should be > balanced with options for open areas that support sustainable fisheries.

Measuring and assessing the physical impact of beam trawling

Depestele J, Ivanović A, Degrendele K, Esmaeili M, Polet H, Roche M, Summerbell K, Teal LR, Vanelslander B, O'Neill FG. Measuring and assessing the physical impact of beam trawling. ICES Journal of Marine Science [Internet]. 2016 ;73(suppl 1):i15 - i26. Available from: http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/73/suppl_1/i15.abstract?etoc
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Beam trawling causes physical disruption of the seabed through contact of the gear components with the sediment and the resuspension of sediment into the water column in the turbulent wake of the gear. To be able to measure and quantify these impacts is important so that gears of reduced impact can be developed. Here we assess the physical impact of both a conventional 4 m tickler-chain beam trawl and a “Delmeco” electric pulse beam trawl. We measure the changes in seabed bathymetry following the passage of these gears using a Kongsberg EM2040 multi-beam echosounder and use a LISST 100X particle size analyser to measure the concentration and particle size distribution of the sediment mobilized into the water column. We also estimate the penetration of the gears into the seabed using numerical models for the mechanical interaction between gears and seabed. Our results indicate that the seabed bathymetry changes between ∼1 and 2 cm and that it is further increased by higher trawling frequencies. Furthermore, our results suggest that the alteration following the passage of the conventional trawl is greater than that following the pulse trawl passage. There was no difference in the quantity of sediment mobilized in the wake of these two gears; however, the numerical model introduced in this study predicted that the tickler-chain trawl penetrates the seabed more deeply than the pulse gear. Hence, greater alteration to the seabed bathymetry by the tickler-chain beam trawling is likely to be a result of its greater penetration. The complimentary insights of the different techniques highlight the advantage of investigating multiple effects such as sediment penetration and resuspension simultaneously and using both field trials and numerical modelling approaches.

The physical impact of towed demersal fishing gears on soft sediments

O'Neill FG, Ivanović A. The physical impact of towed demersal fishing gears on soft sediments. ICES Journal of Marine Science [Internet]. 2016 ;73(suppl 1):i5 - i14. Available from: http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/73/suppl_1/i5.abstract?etoc
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

An improved understanding of the physical interaction of towed demersal fishing gears with the seabed has been developed in recent years, and there is a clearer view of the underpinning mechanical processes that lead to the modification and alteration of the benthic environment. The physical impact of these gears on soft sediments can be classified broadly as being either geotechnical or hydrodynamic in nature: penetration and piercing of the substrate, lateral displacement of sediment, and the influence of the pressure field transmitted through the sediment can be considered geotechnical, whereas the mobilization of sediment into the water column can be considered hydrodynamic. A number of experimental and numerical approaches have been used to gain better insights of these physical processes. These include small-scale modelling in towing tanks and sand channels; large-scale modelling in the field; measurements behind full-scale towed gears at sea; numerical/mathematical modelling of sediment mechanics; and numerical/mathematical modelling of hydrodynamics. Here, we will review this research, and that in associated fields, and show how it can form the basis of predictive models of the benthic impact of trawl gears.

Fishing impacts on benthic ecosystems: an introduction to the 2014 ICES symposium special issue

Buhl-Mortensen L, Neat F, Koen-Alonso M, Hvingel C, Holte B. Fishing impacts on benthic ecosystems: an introduction to the 2014 ICES symposium special issue. ICES Journal of Marine Science [Internet]. 2016 ;73(suppl 1):i1.1 - i4. Available from: http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/73/suppl_1/i1.1.full
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Understanding the impacts of fishing on the seabed is a basic requirement for ecosystem-based marine management. It is only recently that we have begun understanding how fisheries-driven perturbations affect ecosystem function, biodiversity, productivity, and resilience. Technical solutions aimed at minimizing seabed impacts are starting to appear, but their efficacy remains to be demonstrated. In 2014, ICES held a symposium on the effects of fishing on benthic fauna, habitat, and ecosystem function, in Tromsø, Norway. The main goals of the symposium were to summarize current understanding of the physical and biological effects of fishing activities on benthic ecosystems, and to review the diversity of technical measures currently available to mitigate these effects. Here, we briefly describe the background to the scientific symposium and highlight the main contributions.

Global marine protected areas do not secure the evolutionary history of tropical corals and fishes

Mouillot D, Parravicini V, Bellwood DR, Leprieur F, Huang D, Cowman PF, Albouy C, Hughes TP, Thuiller W, Guilhaumon F. Global marine protected areas do not secure the evolutionary history of tropical corals and fishes. Nature Communications [Internet]. 2016 ;7:10359. Available from: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2016/160112/ncomms10359/full/ncomms10359.html
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Although coral reefs support the largest concentrations of marine biodiversity worldwide, the extent to which the global system of marine-protected areas (MPAs) represents individual species and the breadth of evolutionary history across the Tree of Life has never been quantified. Here we show that only 5.7% of scleractinian coral species and 21.7% of labrid fish species reach the minimum protection target of 10% of their geographic ranges within MPAs. We also estimate that the current global MPA system secures only 1.7% of the Tree of Life for corals, and 17.6% for fishes. Regionally, the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific show the greatest deficit of protection for corals while for fishes this deficit is located primarily in the Western Indian Ocean and in the Central Pacific. Our results call for a global coordinated expansion of current conservation efforts to fully secure the Tree of Life on coral reefs.

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