The evolution of the industrial trawl fishery footprint off southeastern and southern Brazil
Alvarez Perez,José Angel
Menezes,João Thadeu de
This study established the spatial footprint of the industrial trawl fishing fleet operating off southeastern and southern Brazil between 2003 and 2011. It also provides estimates of the area swept by this fleet and the correspondent Utilization Index (swept area/available area) as measures of impact over the benthic ecosystem. Lastly, costs/benefits of trawling were addressed by the cumulative biomass landed during the study period expressed as a proportion of the cumulative swept area (Biomass-Swept Area Index). These variables were mapped and their patterns of spatial-temporal variability were associated with fishing strategies (shrimp trawling, slope trawling and pair trawling), latitudinal strata, depth strata, and substrate types. The trawl fishery footprint during the study period comprised 502,190 km². The total area swept by trawling operations was 680,697.5 km², 1.4 times the available area. Trawling impacts on the substrate were primarily produced by the dominant shrimp trawling strategy. In comparison with other strategies, these vessels used the most extensive shelf area, and disturbed more sand/mud habitat surface to obtain less landed biomass. Delimiting the trawl fishery footprint off southeastern and southern Brazil and its main core areas comprised a first step towards in evaluating impact on such areas, providing preliminary information for future ecosystem-based fisheries management and marine spatial planning strategies.