Limits...
Interactions between a Trawl fishery and spatial closures for biodiversity conservation in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Australia.

Grech A, Coles R - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: The past decade has seen the implementation of conservation and fisheries management strategies to reduce the impact of the ECOTF on the seabed and improve biodiversity conservation.The decline in effort as a result of fishing industry structural adjustment, increasing variable costs and business decisions of fishers is likely to continue a trend to fish only in the most productive areas.This will provide protection for most benthic habitats without any further legislative or management intervention.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Fisheries Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Cairns, Queensland, Australia. alana.grech@jcu.edu.au

ABSTRACT

Background: The Queensland East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (ECOTF) for penaeid shrimp fishes within Australia's Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA). The past decade has seen the implementation of conservation and fisheries management strategies to reduce the impact of the ECOTF on the seabed and improve biodiversity conservation. New information from electronic vessel location monitoring systems (VMS) provides an opportunity to review the interactions between the ECOTF and spatial closures for biodiversity conservation.

Methodology and results: We used fishing metrics and spatial information on the distribution of closures and modelled VMS data in a geographical information system (GIS) to assess change in effort of the trawl fishery from 2001-2009 and to quantify the exposure of 70 reef, non-reef and deep water bioregions to trawl fishing. The number of trawlers and the number of days fished almost halved between 2001 and 2009 and new spatial closures introduced in 2004 reduced the area zoned available for trawl fishing by 33%. However, we found that there was only a relatively minor change in the spatial footprint of the fishery as a result of new spatial closures. Non-reef bioregions benefited the most from new spatial closures followed by deep and reef bioregions.

Conclusions/significance: Although the catch of non target species remains an issue of concern for fisheries management, the small spatial footprint of the ECOTF relative to the size of the GBRWHA means that the impact on benthic habitats is likely to be negligible. The decline in effort as a result of fishing industry structural adjustment, increasing variable costs and business decisions of fishers is likely to continue a trend to fish only in the most productive areas. This will provide protection for most benthic habitats without any further legislative or management intervention.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Proportion (%) of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) zoned available to trawl fishing, and the proportion of the GBRWHA where trawl fishing was conducted and conducted more than once (i.e. > five hours per year) from 2001–2009.Less than half of the area available for trawling in the GBRWHA was actually trawled between 2001 and 2009. The spatial footprint of the ECOTF steadily declined from 2001–2009 by almost 25,000 km2. Most of this decline occurred in areas that were only fished once per year (i.e. < five hours per year). Less than half of the total area trawled in any of the fishing years between 2001 and 2009 was trawled more than once in a year.
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pone-0021094-g003: Proportion (%) of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) zoned available to trawl fishing, and the proportion of the GBRWHA where trawl fishing was conducted and conducted more than once (i.e. > five hours per year) from 2001–2009.Less than half of the area available for trawling in the GBRWHA was actually trawled between 2001 and 2009. The spatial footprint of the ECOTF steadily declined from 2001–2009 by almost 25,000 km2. Most of this decline occurred in areas that were only fished once per year (i.e. < five hours per year). Less than half of the total area trawled in any of the fishing years between 2001 and 2009 was trawled more than once in a year.

Mentions: Not all areas zoned available for trawling are suitable for trawling due to the complexities of topography and the location of target species. We found that since 2001, trawl fishing has occurred in less than half of the area zoned available for trawling in the GBRWHA (Table 1; Figure 3). In 2001, 23% (∼80,000 km2) of the GBRWHA was zoned available for trawling and trawled. The spatial footprint of the fishery has declined slowly and in 2009 only 15% of the GBRWHA was trawled. The largest decline in any one year (approximately 5%) occurred between 2004 and 2005 (Table 1; Figure 3), the same years as the introduction of new spatial closures.


Interactions between a Trawl fishery and spatial closures for biodiversity conservation in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Australia.

Grech A, Coles R - PLoS ONE (2011)

Proportion (%) of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) zoned available to trawl fishing, and the proportion of the GBRWHA where trawl fishing was conducted and conducted more than once (i.e. > five hours per year) from 2001–2009.Less than half of the area available for trawling in the GBRWHA was actually trawled between 2001 and 2009. The spatial footprint of the ECOTF steadily declined from 2001–2009 by almost 25,000 km2. Most of this decline occurred in areas that were only fished once per year (i.e. < five hours per year). Less than half of the total area trawled in any of the fishing years between 2001 and 2009 was trawled more than once in a year.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3113906&req=5

pone-0021094-g003: Proportion (%) of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) zoned available to trawl fishing, and the proportion of the GBRWHA where trawl fishing was conducted and conducted more than once (i.e. > five hours per year) from 2001–2009.Less than half of the area available for trawling in the GBRWHA was actually trawled between 2001 and 2009. The spatial footprint of the ECOTF steadily declined from 2001–2009 by almost 25,000 km2. Most of this decline occurred in areas that were only fished once per year (i.e. < five hours per year). Less than half of the total area trawled in any of the fishing years between 2001 and 2009 was trawled more than once in a year.
Mentions: Not all areas zoned available for trawling are suitable for trawling due to the complexities of topography and the location of target species. We found that since 2001, trawl fishing has occurred in less than half of the area zoned available for trawling in the GBRWHA (Table 1; Figure 3). In 2001, 23% (∼80,000 km2) of the GBRWHA was zoned available for trawling and trawled. The spatial footprint of the fishery has declined slowly and in 2009 only 15% of the GBRWHA was trawled. The largest decline in any one year (approximately 5%) occurred between 2004 and 2005 (Table 1; Figure 3), the same years as the introduction of new spatial closures.

Bottom Line: The past decade has seen the implementation of conservation and fisheries management strategies to reduce the impact of the ECOTF on the seabed and improve biodiversity conservation.The decline in effort as a result of fishing industry structural adjustment, increasing variable costs and business decisions of fishers is likely to continue a trend to fish only in the most productive areas.This will provide protection for most benthic habitats without any further legislative or management intervention.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Fisheries Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Cairns, Queensland, Australia. alana.grech@jcu.edu.au

ABSTRACT

Background: The Queensland East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (ECOTF) for penaeid shrimp fishes within Australia's Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA). The past decade has seen the implementation of conservation and fisheries management strategies to reduce the impact of the ECOTF on the seabed and improve biodiversity conservation. New information from electronic vessel location monitoring systems (VMS) provides an opportunity to review the interactions between the ECOTF and spatial closures for biodiversity conservation.

Methodology and results: We used fishing metrics and spatial information on the distribution of closures and modelled VMS data in a geographical information system (GIS) to assess change in effort of the trawl fishery from 2001-2009 and to quantify the exposure of 70 reef, non-reef and deep water bioregions to trawl fishing. The number of trawlers and the number of days fished almost halved between 2001 and 2009 and new spatial closures introduced in 2004 reduced the area zoned available for trawl fishing by 33%. However, we found that there was only a relatively minor change in the spatial footprint of the fishery as a result of new spatial closures. Non-reef bioregions benefited the most from new spatial closures followed by deep and reef bioregions.

Conclusions/significance: Although the catch of non target species remains an issue of concern for fisheries management, the small spatial footprint of the ECOTF relative to the size of the GBRWHA means that the impact on benthic habitats is likely to be negligible. The decline in effort as a result of fishing industry structural adjustment, increasing variable costs and business decisions of fishers is likely to continue a trend to fish only in the most productive areas. This will provide protection for most benthic habitats without any further legislative or management intervention.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus