School of Natural and Environmental Sciences


Fish effects of prohibited trawl areas

Failure to remedy declinign fishery stocks and biodiversity has been attributed to shortcomings of traditional fisheries management which focuses on single commercial species and ignores broader environmental consequences of exploitation. There is a drive to control fisheries within a broader context such as an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM). Among the tools available for EAFM, marine protected areas (MPAs) are the subject of much attention but their role in relation to mobile fish species is unclear.

  1. Better understand the characteristics of different methods for quantifying fish abundance in coastal waters in England
  2. Investigate 2 existing MPAs, the prohibited trawling areas (PTAs) at Whitby and Filey.

Initial work will compare data outputs of baited video, baited trap, acoustic and trammel netting approaches to estimating fish abundances. It will then assess relative abundances of fish using a control-impact approach (trawled area v PTA) of fish community descriptors (e.g. species richness and abundance) and non-destructive baited sampling techniques. The project will provide essential information on the value of small MPAs to the fishing industry and wider resource users, for sustainable fisheries and biodiversity conservation, and also increase expertise in use of low-cost non-destructive techniques.