Human activities - Articles
With retreating sea ice, new areas in the northern Barents Sea become available for fisheries, including bottom trawlers. Of special interest to WGIBAR is therefore the vulnerability analysis (Jørgensen et al., 2015).
In order to conclude on the total impact of trawling, an extensive mapping of fishing effort and bottom habitat would be necessary. In general, the response of benthic organisms to disturbance differs with substrate, depth, gear, and type of organism (Collie et al. 2000). Seabed characteristics from the Barents Sea are only scarcely known (Klages et al. 2004) and the lack of high-resolution (100 m) maps of benthic habitats and biota is currently the most serious impediment to effective protection of vulnerable habitats from fishing activities (Hall 1999). An assessment of fishing intensity on fine spatial scales is critically important in evaluating the overall impact of fishing gear on different habitats and may be achieved, for example, by satellite tracking of fishing vessels (Jennings et al. 2001). The challenge for management is to determine levels of fishing that are sustainable and not degradable for benthic habitats in the long run.