Fishery: Bottom trawling affects life on seafloor

Author: BalticSea2020
Year published: 2020

Researchers at Stockholm University's Baltic Sea Centre have looked at the environmental impact of bottom trawling in the Baltic Sea and recently presented their study at Helcom's conference in Helsinki.

The conference is part of the update of the Baltic Sea Action Plan, which will be completed in 2021. The researchers believe that the effects of bottom trawling are important to take into account when evaluating the environmental impact of fisheries in the Baltic Sea. This according to an article by the web magazine Baltic Eye.

Bottom trawling is a fishing method that affects not only fish stocks, but also the life on seabed. At the same time, the method can lead to the release of nutrients and dangerous chemicals from the sediment.

- The biggest effects are achieved by pulling the heavy trawl on the seabed. The trawl dig deep into the sediment, move sediments and form piles that are several inches high, says Sofia Wikström, marine ecologist at Stockholm University's Baltic Sea Centre, to Baltic Eye.

Sofia Wikström further explains that a trawl can kill many animals in its path, and repeated trawling causes sensitive species to decrease or disappear altogether.

Read more in the article here (in Swedish).

Bottom trawling affects the Baltic cod
BalticSea2020 has been working for a sustainable cod fishery for several years and started the project "Save the Baltic Sea cod" in 2017 with the aim of strengthening the cod stock, e.g. by proposing a recommendation for a ban on trawling for cod. After many years of overfishing, cod stocks are now in crisis, but in the mid-October of 2019, the EU decided that all targeted cod fishing in the eastern Baltic shall be banned. We think that this decision will ensure future sustainable cod fishing that benefits the local business community. At the same time, it can also have positive environmental effects as seabed and marine animals are not affected by this fishing method. Please read more about our initiative "Save the Baltic Sea cod" here, or at