Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

How far have the ecological effects of fishing in the North Sea ramified?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Christopher Frid, Robin Clark, Philip Percival


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Man has been taking fish from the North Sea for 1,000s of years and intensive, mechanised fishing has been occurring for over 100 years - longer than the period of marine biological studies. It is therefore impossible to use the standard approaches to the assessment of the ecological effects of fisheries - there are no baseline/pre-impact data. In this study a variety of approaches are used to attempt to assess to what extent the direct (removal of target species) and indirect (removal of non-target species, habitat change, nutrient, organic flux changes etc.) effects of fisheries have altered the North Sea ecosystem. The approaches used include classic benthic time series, comparisons of historic records and modelling. Each approach has its flaws and limitations but by generating a synthesis of these findings it is possible to make an assessment of the ecological role of fisheries even with no pre-impact data. The results suggest that in many areas changes in the benthos have occurred as a result of fishing activities. In some areas such changes may have occurred as early as 1915-20, but in other areas changes were still occurring in the 1980s as fishing gears/intensity altered. While some 'vulnerable' taxa have been heavily impacted many of the observed changes are subtler and may represent indirect effects such as altered predation rates or organic material/nutrient fluxes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Frid CLJ, Clark RA, Percival P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Senckenbergiana Maritima

Year: 2001

Volume: 31

Issue: 2

Pages: 313-320

ISSN (print): 0080-889X

ISSN (electronic):


DOI: 10.1007/BF03043039


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric