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BOTTOM TRAWLING AS A DRIVER OF DEEP SEASCAPE TRANSFORMATION

Project description

The study of trawling effects on the deep seafloor morphology

Bottom trawling is a fishing method that uses large weighted nets to scoop up everything in their passing, from fish to centuries-old corals. It scars the seabed disrupting, if not destroying the ecosystem and causing measurable alterations of the seabed integrity and submarine geomorphology. Still, very few studies have managed to address the effect of continued trawling activities at depths beyond the shelf break. The EU-funded project TrawledSeas provides a thorough reading of the impact of bottom trawling in terms of extent, rates, and volume change on the morphology of different geological and climatic deep (>200 m) seafloor settings. Their interdisciplinary approach combines quantitative analysis of high-resolution multibeam data with geophysical and sedimentological information, in situ observations and satellite-based vessel tracks.

Objective

Bottom trawling is one of the most common fishing practices worldwide. It involves towing of nets along the seafloor to harvest benthic and demersal living resources for human consumption or industrial uses. The widespread and intensive use of these fishing activities on the continental margin has raised concerns in the European Union about the sustainability of this practice. The impacts of bottom trawling on the seafloor have been extensively investigated in shallow environments. However, very few studies have addressed the effect of continued trawling activities at depths beyond the shelf break.
The main objective of TrawledSeas is to characterise the impact of bottom trawling, in terms of extent, rates and volume change, on the morphology of different geological and climatic deep (>200 m) seafloor settings. The project is based on an interdisciplinary approach that combines the quantitative analysis of high-resolution multibeam data with geophysical and sedimentological information, in situ observations and satellite-based vessel tracks. These data will be provided by leading research groups or derived from European and global databases of open geospatial data. A main component of the methodology consists of the development of a new automated marine landscape mapping technique to quantify the morphological signature of bottom trawling at fine and mesoscale, which will be conducted at the University of Malta and complemented at the Geological Survey of Norway.
The collaborative nature of TrawledSeas will reinforce the researcher’s interdisciplinary background and international network. The project will also contribute to the researcher’s career development by providing technical skills on geomorphometry and research expertise on different geological settings, which will provide her with the high scientific profile necessary to develop innovative and integrative projects and to apply for national and European funding calls such as an ERC grant and Horizon 2020.

Call for proposal

H2020-WF-2018-2020

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Sub call

H2020-WF-01-2018

Coordinator

UNIVERSITA TA MALTA
Net EU contribution
€ 160 049,28
Address
TAL OROQQ
2080 MSIDA
Malta

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Region
Malta Malta Malta
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 160 049,28