The greatest physical disturbance of the seabed and benthic habitats is caused by mobile bottom-contacting fishing gear. Most demersal fisheries in the ecoregion are bottom-trawl fisheries. Figure 7 shows the effort by bottom trawlers in the recent decade (2010–2021) on the main targeted species. Mapping of benthic habitats is currently limited in the ecoregion. There is a high degree of overlap between the trawl fishery footprint for cod and demersal redfish, and the habitats of corals and sponges on the continental slope (Figure 8).
Figure 8: Overview of observations of corals and sponges collected as trawl bycatch on research surveys conducted by the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources (GINR) in East Greenland.
Figure 7: Bottom-trawling effort distribution for four demersal species in the Greenland Sea ecoregion during 2010–2021. Upper panels: cod and Greenland halibut (GHL). Lower panels: redfish (Sebastes spp.; RED) and northern shrimp (PRA). The Greenland and Iceland EEZ borders are shown (black lines).