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  • Phase_III_manuscript_formatted_for_submission_to_PNAS_Assessing_the_status_of_seabed_habitats_in_trawled_regions_of_the_world

    Accepted author manuscript, 1.17 MB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 11/07/22

    Licence: CC BY Show licence


  • C. Roland Pitcher
    CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere
  • Jan Geert Hiddink
  • Simon Jennings
    Lowestoft laboratory
  • Jeremy Collie
    University of Rhode Island
  • Ana Parma
    CENPAT-CONICET, Puerto Madryn, Argentina
  • Ricardo Amoroso
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Tessa Mazor
    Department of Environment Land Water and Planning, East Melbourne
  • Marija Sciberras
  • Robert A. McConnaughey
    NOAA, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Seattle
  • Adriaan J. Rijnsdorp
    Wageningen University & Research
  • Michel Kaiser
    Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh
  • Petri Suuronen
    Natural Resources Institute of Finland, Helsinki
  • Ray Hilborn
    University of Washington, Seattle
Bottom trawling is widespread globally and impacts seabed habitats. However, risks from trawling remain unquantified at large scales in most regions. We address these issues by synthesizing evidence on the impacts of different trawl-gear types, seabed recovery rates, and spatial distributions of trawling intensity in a quantitative indicator of biotic status (relative amount of pretrawling biota) for sedimentary habitats, where most bottom-trawling occurs, in 24 regions worldwide. Regional average status relative to an untrawled state (=1) was high (>0.9) in 15 regions, but 0.8. These assessments are first order, based on parameters estimated with uncertainty from meta-analyses; we recommend regional analyses to refine parameters for local specificity. Nevertheless, our results are sufficiently robust to highlight regions needing more effective management to reduce exploitation and improve stock sustainability and seabed environmental status-while also showing seabed status was high (>0.95) in regions where catches of trawled fish stocks meet accepted benchmarks for sustainable exploitation, demonstrating that environmental benefits accrue from effective fisheries management. Furthermore, regional seabed status was related to the proportional area swept by trawling, enabling preliminary predictions of regional status when only the total amount of trawling is known. This research advances seascape-scale understanding of trawl impacts in regions around the world, enables quantitative assessment of sustainability risks, and facilitates implementation of an ecosystem approach to trawl fisheries management globally.


  • habitat sensitivity, recovery, spatial upscaling, trawl footprints, trawl impacts
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2109449119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2022

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