Marine debris in bottom trawl catches and their effects on the selectivity grids in the north eastern Mediterranean

Source: ScienceDirect

Authors:Ahmet Raif Eryaşar, Hüseyin Özbilgin, Ali Cemal Gücü, Serdar Sakınan


In this study composition of marine debris and their blocking potential on the selectivity grid systems deployed on demersal trawls were investigated in the north eastern Mediterranean. For this, a total of 132 hauls were examined in two fishing season between 20 September 2010 and 19 February 2012. Results showed that plastic items were the most abundant debris (73% in terms of weight) and they were followed by metals (10%). Because of plastics and packing debris, it is highly probable that grids may have been blocked in 85% of trawl hauls. The bathymetric and geographical variability in the quantity of debris were evaluated, and concluded that particularly in some areas where direction of currents and bottom topography favor deposition, such devices may easily be rendered ineffective by the plastics and packing debris in particular. To solve this problem, several solution proposals are submitted.

Baseline study of the distribution of marine debris on soft-bottom habitats associated with trawling grounds in the northern Mediterranean

Source: Scientia Marina

Authors: Pilar Sánchez, Mercedes Masó, Raquel Sáez, Silvia de Juan, Alba Muntadas and Montserrat Demestre


The present study aims to analyse the local and regional variability in the density and typology of marine debris on fishing grounds on the northern Mediterranean continental shelf, and to test relationships between marine litter and trawl fishing activity. Moreover, the colonization of plastics was examined in order to study the importance of plastics as a source of impact on marine communities and their further environmental implications. This study surveyed 11 sites, associated with trawling grounds and subjected to different levels of fishing intensity, located in four areas of the Mediterranean: one in Italy, the Central Tyrrhenian coast, one in Greece, the eastern Ionian coast, and two in Spain, the Murcian and Catalan coasts. Samples were collected during an oceanographic cruise undertaken from the 21 May to the 24 June 2009. Results showed geographical variation in the density of marine debris which ranged from 0 to 405 pieces per hectare in the surveyed areas, plastics being the dominant components. Variability within sites was higher than between areas, indicating small-scale patchiness in the distribution of the debris over the seafloor. Though the study areas were within trawling grounds, the density of debris was not significantly correlated with fishing effort. More than 30% of plastics were between 10 and 20 cm width/length, and more than 40% of the plastics were colonized by a biofilm of microorganisms, suggesting indirect effects on benthic communities.