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Fishing activities

August 16, 2017

Unlike the major anthropogenic changes that terrestrial and coastal habitats underwent during the last centuries such as deforestation, river engineering, agricultural practices or urbanism, those occurring underwater are veiled from our eyes and have continued nearly unnoticed. Only recent advances in remote sensing and deep marine sampling technologies have revealed the extent and magnitude of the anthropogenic impacts to the seafloor. In particular, bottom trawling, a fishing technique consisting of dragging a net and fishing gear over the seafloor to capture bottom-dwelling living resources has gained attention among the scientific community, policy makers and the general public due to its destructive effects on the seabed. Trawling gear produces acute impacts on biota and the physical substratum of the seafloor by disrupting the sediment column structure, overturning boulders, resuspending sediments and imprinting deep scars on muddy bottoms. Also, the repetitive passage of trawling gear over the same areas creates long-lasting, cumulative impacts that modify the cohesiveness and texture of sediments. It can be asserted nowadays that due to its recurrence, mobility and wide geographical extent, industrial trawling has become a major force driving seafloor change and affecting not only its physical integrity on short spatial scales but also imprinting measurable modifications to the geomorphology of entire continental margins.

Publication Year 2018
Title Fishing activities
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-57852-1_25
Authors Ferdinand K. J. Oberle, Pere Puig, Jacobo Martin
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70190162
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center