For the soft sediment habitats dominating the continental shelf areas of Europe, the impact of bottom trawling can be reduced by introducing a habitat credit system, possibly in combination with technical measures. Fishermen would get a quota of habitat credits and would have to pay more for fishing in ecological sensitive areas, and less in the core fishing grounds.
Implementation of this habitat credit system was explored in a simulation study of the French mixed bottom fisheries using otter trawls or dredges in the eastern Channel. The study showed that with the same catch the total impact can be reduced.
Batsleer, J., Marchal, P., Vaz, S., Vermard, Y., Rijnsdorp, A. D., Poos, J.J., (in press 2017). Exploring habitat credits to manage the benthic impact in a mixed fishery. Marine Ecology Progress Series, doi:10.3354/meps12392
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