A broad analysis of three types of fishing – beam trawling for sole, beam trawling for plaice and otter fishing for Nordic lobster and flatfish – has shown that fisheries frequent very specific habitats in the North Sea. Researchers from the University of Groningen (UG) and Wageningen Marine Research (WMR) published on this topic in the academic journal PLOS One on 18 December. There are just a few habitats in the North Sea that are exploited intensively by fisheries. The majority of these so-called hotspots lie within ‘Natura 2000’ areas, as they are also very valuable for nature.
This study, conducted within the collaborative project DISCLOSE, provides the very first insight into the ecological characteristics of different habitats that are targeted by fisheries in the North Sea. The results emphasize that the fishing pressure on the seabed is not uniformly spread across the North Sea. Fishing hotspots are characterized by a combination of specific environmental characteristics that are possibly very important for nature. This could lead to a conflict of interests. The current regulations do not account for this information.
Check the fishing hotspots on our interactive North Sea map!