This pressure principally affects the seabed habitats and is associated with bottom-contacting mobile gear, in particular beam trawling, otter trawling, and local activities linked to tourism such as anchoring. The physical disturbance of benthic habitats by bottom trawl fishing gear is described by using vessel monitoring system (VMS) and logbook data. The extent, magnitude, and impact of mobile bottom-contacting fishing gear on the seabed and benthic habitats varies geographically across the Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coast ecoregion. Fishing is mainly concentrated along the shelf edge, largely in the Bay of Biscay and off the western Iberian coast (Figure – note that the figure excludes Spanish fishing effort).
Average annual subsurface (left) and surface (right) disturbance by mobile bottom-contacting fishing gear (bottom otter trawls, bottom seines, dredges, and beam trawls) in the Bay of Biscay and the Iberian Coast ecoregion during 2014–2017, expressed as average swept area ratios (SAR) .The figure excludes Spanish fishing effort.