Prioritization of knowledge-needs to achieve best practices for bottom trawling in relation to seabed habitats

Michel J. Kaiser*, Ray Hilborn, Simon Jennings, Ricky Amaroso, Michael Andersen, Kris Balliet, Eric Barratt, Odd A. Bergstad, Stephen Bishop, Jodi L. Bostrom, Catherine Boyd, Eduardo A. Bruce, Merrick Burden, Chris Carey, Jason Clermont, Jeremy S. Collie, Antony Delahunty, Jacqui Dixon, Steve Eayrs, Nigel EdwardsRod Fujita, John Gauvin, Mary Gleason, Brad Harris, Pingguo He, Jan G. Hiddink, Kathryn M. Hughes, Mario Inostroza, Andrew Kenny, Jake Kritzer, Volker Kuntzsch, Mario Lasta, Ivan Lopez, Craig Loveridge, Don Lynch, Jim Masters, Tessa Mazor, Robert A. McConnaughey, Marcel Moenne, Francis, Aileen M. Nimick, Alex Olsen, David Parker, Ana Parma, Christine Penney, David Pierce, Roland Pitcher, Michael Pol, Ed Richardson, Adriaan D. Rijnsdorp, Simon Rilatt, Dale P. Rodmell, Craig Rose, Suresh A. Sethi, Katherine Short, Petri Suuronen, Erin Taylor, Scott Wallace, Lisa Webb, Eric Wickham, Sam R. Wilding, Ashley Wilson, Paul Winger, William J. Sutherland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Management and technical approaches that achieve a sustainable level of fish production while at the same time minimizing or limiting the wider ecological effects caused through fishing gear contact with the seabed might be considered to be ‘best practice’. To identify future knowledge-needs that would help to support a transition towards the adoption of best practices for trawling, a prioritization exercise was undertaken with a group of 39 practitioners from the seafood industry and management, and 13 research scientists who have an active research interest in bottom-trawl and dredge fisheries. A list of 108 knowledge-needs related to trawl and dredge fisheries was developed in conjunction with an ‘expert task force’. The long list was further refined through a three stage process of voting and scoring, including discussions of each knowledge-need. The top 25 knowledge-needs are presented, as scored separately by practitioners and scientists. There was considerable consistency in the priorities identified by these two groups. The top priority knowledge-need to improve current understanding on the distribution and extent of different habitat types also reinforced the concomitant need for the provision and access to data on the spatial and temporal distribution of all forms of towed bottom-fishing activities. Many of the other top 25 knowledge-needs concerned the evaluation of different management approaches or implementation of different fishing practices, particularly those that explore trade-offs between effects of bottom trawling on biodiversity and ecosystem services and the benefits of fish production as food.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-663
Number of pages27
JournalFish and Fisheries
Issue number3
Early online date24 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


  • Best practices
  • habitat impact
  • knowledge-needs
  • trawl fisheries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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