Ecosystem overviews

Bay of Biscay and the Iberian Coast Ecoregion

Pressure: Abrasion

​​​​​​​​This pressure principally affects the seabed habitats and it is associated with bottom contacting mobile gear, in particular beam trawling, otter trawling, and local activities linked to tourism such as anchoring.

Using vessel monitoring system (VMS) and logbook data ICES estimates that mobile bottom trawls used by commercial fisheries in the 12 m+ vessel category have been deployed over approximately 99 000 km2 of the ecoregion in 2013, corresponding to ca. 13.2% of the ecoregion’s spatial extent. 

Fishing is mainly concentrated along the shelf edge, largely in the Bay of Biscay and off the western Iberian coast​. Overall, there was a gradual decrease in the proportion of swept seafloor of ca. 2% between 2009 and 2013.

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​Surface and subsurface abrasion pressure expressed as the swept-area ratio obtained from VMS data from 2013 in the Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coast ecoregion. The figure excludes Spanish fishing effort (ICES, 2015b). Click image to enlarge.

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Bay of Biscay and the Iberian Coast Ecoregion

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) · Conseil International pour l'Exploration de la Mer (CIEM)
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