Abrasion occurs from towed bottom-contacting gear with some damage to benthic organisms and habitats. 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 Norwegian Sea. Relatively little such gear is used in the NwS, mainly on the shelf in the southern part of the ecoregion (Figure 7). Some abrasion can occur near offshore oil and gas operations – these also are limited in extent and numbers in the NwS.
Coral reef areas are protected from bottom fishing. Relatively large areas are closed to petroleum-related activities in the Norwegian EZZ, in particular at the Møre plateau (Figure 8).
Figure 8: Framework for petroleum activities (announcement of blocks, exploration drilling, seismic surveying). Source: Norwegian Ministry of the Environment, 2009.