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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2019-90
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2019-90
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: data description paper 18 Jul 2019

Submitted as: data description paper | 18 Jul 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Science Data (ESSD).

Reconstructing three decades of total international trawling effort in the North Sea

Elena Couce1, Michaela Schratzberger1,2, and Georg H. Engelhard1,2 Elena Couce et al.
  • 1Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Pakefield Road, Lowestoft NR33 0HT, UK
  • 2Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Use of the Seas (CCSUS), University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK

Abstract. Fishing – especially trawling – is one of the most ubiquitous anthropogenic pressures on marine ecosystems worldwide, yet very few long-term, spatially explicit datasets on trawling effort exist; this greatly hampers our understanding of the medium- to long-term impact of trawling. This important gap is addressed here for the North Sea, a highly productive shelf sea which is also subject to many anthropogenic pressures. For a 31-year time span (1985–2015), we provide a dataset on the spatial distribution of total international otter and beam trawling effort, for all ICES rectangles (0.5° latitude by 1° longitude) of the North Sea. The dataset was largely reconstructed using compiled effort data from 7 fishing effort time-series, each covering shorter time spans and some of the countries fishing the North Sea only. For the years where effort data for particular countries were missing, the series was complemented using estimated (modelled) effort data. This new, long-term and large-scale trawling dataset may serve the wider scientific community, as well as those involved with policy and management, as a valuable information source on fishing pressure in a Large Marine Ecosystem which is heavily impacted, but which simultaneously provides a wealth of ecosystem services to society. The dataset is available on the Cefas Data Hub at: https://doi.org/10.14466/CefasDataHub.61 (Couce et al., 2019).

Elena Couce et al.
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Elena Couce et al.
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Reconstruction of North Sea trawling effort 1985-2015 E. Couce, M. Schratzberger, and G. H. Engelhard https://doi.org/10.14466/CefasDataHub.61

Elena Couce et al.
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Short summary
Fishing – especially trawling – is one of the most ubiquitous anthropogenic pressures on marine ecosystems, yet very few long-term, spatially explicit datasets on trawling effort exist, greatly hampering our understanding of its medium- to long-term impacts. Here we provide a dataset on the spatial distribution of total international otter and beam trawling effort on the North Sea, for the period 1985–2015, reconstructed using compiled effort data sets with data gaps filled by estimations.
Fishing – especially trawling – is one of the most ubiquitous anthropogenic pressures on...
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